A sessions court in Goa on Wednesday said it will pronounce the verdict in the sexual assault case filed against journalist Tarun Tejpal on May 19, reported PTI. Tejpal, the former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, is accused of raping a junior colleague in an elevator in 2013.
The court adjourned the hearing, citing the lack of staff because of the coronavirus pandemic. It said that the court was working with only 15% of the total staff. The additional district court was set to pronounce the verdict on April 27 but it was deferred to May 12.
Tejpal has been out on bail since 2014.
A trial court in Goa had charged Tejpal with rape, sexual harassment and wrongful restraint in September 2017. He had pleaded not guilty. But in an internal email, Tejpal had blamed the incident on a “lapse of judgment”.
The Goa Police had filed a chargesheet in the case in 2014.
He is facing trial under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376(2)(f) (person in position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2) (k) (rape by person in position of control) of the Indian Penal Code.
The trial began in September 2017 but was delayed repeatedly as Tejpal moved the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court against the allegations, reported The Hindu. Both the Supreme Court and the High Court dismissed his petitions seeking to quash the rape charges against him.
Dismissing Tejpal’s plea in 2019, the Supreme Court had ordered the trial to be completed within six months and to be held in-camera and not open to public.