SC questions Tejpal on why he sent apologies to victim

Former editor of news magazine Tehelka Tarun Tejpal. (Image courtesy ANI)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked former editor of news magazine Tehelka Tarun Tejpal, who challenged sexual assault charges levelled at him by a young colleague, as to why he has sent apologies after the incident to the girl and called it a drunken banter.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and B R Gavai posed the queries to senior advocate Vikas Singh, who arguing for Tejpal, contended that the charges were “tailor-made” to frame Tejpal.

He said those materials were not supplied to the accused, which were to be provided under Section 207 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The counsel cited WhatsApp messages of the victim girl to claim that she wanted to “extract Rs 100 crore” from Tejpal.

Singh also said that the CCTV footage showed that the victim was behind Tejpal and she was running after him after the alleged incident of 54-second in a lift in a Goa hotel.

The bench, which reserved its judgement on framing of charges, told Tejpal to put forth these arguments during the trial.

Countering the submission, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Goa government, submitted that there were ample materials in the form of contemporaneous emails.

He said that the accused's daughter and the victim were friends and pointed out that the accused had admitted the incident calling it a “drunken banter”.

He said that the charges should be left to be examined during the trial, which was yet to take place.

Tejpal was alleged to have sexually assaulted the girl inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013. He was arrested on November 30, 2013, by the Crime Branch after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court. He has been out on bail since May 2014.

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