Senior journalist Tarun Tejpal has been acquitted of the charges of sexually assaulting a former female colleague by a sessions court in Goa on Friday (May 21).
Tejpal had to resign as Tehelka editor-in-chief following a complaint by the female journalist that he harassed her sexually inside the elevator of a luxury hotel in Goa in 2013.
The court was supposed to deliver the verdict on April 27, but the case was adjourned to May 12. It was once again adjourned to May 19 and finally the decision was delivered on May 21.
After the judgment was pronounced, Tarun Tejpal’s daughter Cara read out a statement on her father’s behalf: “It is with profound respect that I thank this court for its rigorous, impartial and fair trial and for its thorough examination of CCTV footage and other empirical material on record.” He also thanked his lawyer Rajiv Gomes, who died of COVID.
Tejpal further wrote: “The past seven -an-a-half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these false allegations on every aspect of our personal, professional and public lives.”
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The Goa police had registered an FIR against Tejpal in November 2013 following which he was arrested. The Goa crime branch had filed a chargesheet against Tejpal, who has been out on bail since May 2014.
He faced trial under IPC 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 a position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)k) (rape by a person in a position of control).
(With inputs from agencies)