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Tarun Tejpal rape case: Goa court to frame charges against former Tehelka editor today; lawyer may seek postponement

A sessions court in Goa on Thursday will frame charges against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal in connection with the alleged rape of a colleague during a conference in Goa in 2013, according to media reports.

The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday had refused to stay the framing of charges against Tejpal in a lower court. However, it directed that the trial could begin only after the consent of the High Court.

The bench, according to The Indian Express, said that no examination of first witness would be done till the high court directs to do the same. The report added that Tejpal would be slapped with nine charges in all.

Tejpal's lawyer says case is political vendetta

"We will urge the court to postpone framing of charges since the high court has said no trial (sic) and witnesses should not be examined. So no point in framing. It should be put away till our high court petition is disposed off," Tejpal's lawyer Rajeev Gomes  told IBN Lokmat on Thursday.

Gomes added that there was no evidence against Tejpal and alleged that prosecution had made up the case. He said that CCTV footage cannot be believed. Versions of victim differ, statement of witness also contradicted, said Gomes. The lawyer alleged that the case is a political vendetta.

The court direction on Tuesday followed a petition by Tejpal challenging the framing of charges against him by the Additional North Goa District and Sessions court.

Tejpal's counsel Aman Lekhi, while challenging the 7 September framing of charges process, had said that the accusations of rape were false and that the prosecution had delayed handing over the evidence to him by three years. On Wednesday, he had said that the state 'cannot act in a partisan manner' and alleged that it is not presenting the facts of the case properly, as per a report in NDTV.

The prosecution lawyer Saresh Lotlikar on the other hand argued that only a proper trial could establish the veracity of the charges levelled against Tejpal.

Tejpal faces charges under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (rape), and 354 (b) (criminal assault with intent to disrobe) of the Indian Penal Code.

Tejpal  has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior female colleague in the elevator of a hotel in north Goa during an event in November 2013. Following the incident, the woman had complained to her seniors at Tehelka. A series of emails between her, Tejpal and Tehelka's then managing editor Shoma Chaudhary, were leaked and later published by media, said the NDTV report. Based on the media reports, the Goa police began an investigation.

Tejpal was subsequently arrested but is now out on bail.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Sep 28, 2017 11:46:02 IST

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