News East West
MUMBAI: Speaking to reporters while appearing in the high court in Panaji for his bail plea on Tuesday, Tejpal called the rape against him a political vendetta by the BJP government of Goa.
It may be recalled that Tehelka had exposed former BJP president Bangaru Laxman taking bribe in a sting operation.
“There is no piece of evidence against me. Ask for CCTV footage,’’ Tejpal said when he was being escorted out of the high court.
When the bail plea hearing came up before Justice Mridula R Bhatkar, the defense sought postponement till Friday as Tejpal’s counsel Amit Desai was not available till then.
But the high court postponed the hearing till March 4.
The alleged rape incident happened in the lift of Hotel Bambolim on Nov 7-8 during Tehelka’s Thinkfest held in Panaji.
The victim, who was Tehelka’s correspondent in Mumbai, was assigned to chaperoned Hollywood actress Robert de Niro who attended the event.
Tejpal was arrested on Nov 29 after his bail anticipatory bail application was rejected. The Goa Police had registered a case against him after taking suo moto notice of the case.
In the 2,846-page chargesheet against Tejpal submitted to the judicial magistrate first class in Panaji on Monday, there are statements from 152 witnesses, including investigating woman police inspector Sunita Sawant.
Tejpal has been charged under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354-A (outraging modesty), 341 (wrongfully restrain), 342 (wrong confinement), 376 (rape), 376 (person in position of trust for authority over a women committees rape on such women) and 376(2) (k) (rape of a women by a person being in position of control or dominance over the women) of the Indian Penal Code.
“There is sufficient evidence available in the form of documents, statements and electronic records, on record, to prove that on November, 7 2013, the victim was raped, sexually harassed, and her modesty outraged inside an elevator in the lift of starred hotel, Bambolim, Goa by her own employer Tejpal,’’ the chargesheet statement said.
Tejpal is lodged at the Sada sub-jail at Vasco. The victim happened to be the daughter of Tejpal’s friend. In fact, Tejpal had given her the job because she was his friend’s daughter.