The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal’s plea seeking quashing of rape charges against him, Bar and Bench reported.
Tejpal is accused of raping a junior colleague in 2013 in a hotel lift at an annual event organised by Tehelka magazine in Goa. In September 2017, a trial court had charged Tejpal with rape, sexual harassment and wrongful restraint. He pleaded not guilty. Tejpal had challenged the trial court’s charges in the Supreme Court and sought discharge from the case.
On Tuesday, the court asked Tejpal’s lawyer, Vikas Singh, why his client had apologised to the complainant if he was not guilty, News18 reported. “If nothing had happened, you would not have sent apologies,” Justice Arun Mishra said. “Something inappropriate must have happened.”
Singh argued that in CCTV images of the hotel, it was the complainant who could be seen running after him. “She is the one who started everything,” he added. Singh also claimed that the police had concealed certain WhatsApp messages by the complainant which will prove the charges false.
However, the Goa Police rejected this claim. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the arguments by Tejpal’s lawyer were meant for the trial, which is yet to take place. The bench concurred, and said the complaint cannot be dismissed at this stage.
Earlier, in an internal email, he claimed the incident had been a “lapse of judgment”. Tejpal has been out on bail since May 2014.