News East West
MUMBAI: In another twist to the Tehelka magazine sex scandal, Goa Police have asked editor Tarun Tejpal, who has been booked for raping a fellow woman journalist, to appear before it on Thursday at 3.00PM.
Tejpal was asked to come to Goa after the woman journalist recorded her statement before a magistrate in Goa. She came to Goa from Mumbai for this purpose as the crime was committed in Panaji (Goa). In order to hide her identity at the time of recording her statement, five woman entered the court in burqa.
Earlier, she gave her statement to Goa Police which went to meet her in Mumbai. The victim, who quit Tehelka on Monday, gave the same version of events that her three colleagues offered to a Goa Police team that went to the Tehelka office in Delhi on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court reserved its order on Tarun Tejpal’s plea for four-week anticipatory bail.
Mukul Rohatgi, lawyer for Goa Police, said, “This is a man married with a family and was dealing with an employee who is a friend of his daughter and whom he knew from her childhood. This offence shows the depravity of highest order by a man who is having control over the victim…the man acts like a predator and treats the incident as a drunken banter. He is treating a woman like an object because he is in a position of dominance. There is no question of consent. It has happened to a hapless woman. It is not a case for any indulgence by the court.”
But Tejpal’s lawyer KTS Tulsi sought protection against arrest for Tejpal for four weeks.
Besides anticipatory bail, Tejpal had also sought interim protection against arrest for a period of four weeks.
Tejpal, through Tulsi, told the court that the victim’s version must be taken with “a pinch of salt” and “I am a man enough to own up my mistakes.” He said Goa Police hasn’t filed a status report and told him anything about the status the CCTV footage.
Tejpal is also seeking transfer of the case from Goa because of his fear that he won’t get justice as the state is ruled the BJP.
In his bail application, Tejpal said, “The bias of BJP against the applicant is a well-known fact and has earlier been nastily manifested in a manner in which Tehelka was targeted post its expose on corrupt defence deals in 2001 and was forced to shut down operations for over three years as well as many of its employees being implicated in false criminal cases.”
It may be remembered that Tehelka had exposed former BJP president Bangaru Laxman through a sting operation while taking bribe in 2001.
Tejpal said, “It is pertinent to note that applicant exposed then president of BJP (Bangaru Laxman) in 2001 for committing corruption in defence deals as a result of which the party president as well as the then defence minister of then Union government had to resign.”
Interestingly, in his request for anticipatory bail, Tejpal has termed the whole episode “light-hearted bantering” between him and the woman journalist, whereas in his previous email to the victim he had written, “I apologize unconditionally for the shameful lapse of judgment that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you on two occasions…despite your clear reluctance.”
In his bail application, Tejpal also trashes the accusation, saying that “she (the woman journalist) was at every party and social event through the conference and stayed out late into the night.”
On Tuesday, Goa Police had issued what it called “immigration checkpost alert’’ to keep an eye on Tejpal. “The immigration checkpost alert has been issued to all ports as a precautionary measure so that the accused in this case does not leave the country. The alert is issued to avoid the circumstances in which the accused might try to leave the country,” Goa Police chief O P Mishra said.