New Delhi, Apr 9: The Supreme Court on Monday directed a Goa court to complete the trial against Tehelka magazine's founder Tarun Tejpal, in a case of alleged rape lodged by a former woman colleague, within a year.
The top court asked Tejpal to serve a copy of his petition challenging the Bombay High Court's December 20, 2017 order dismissing his plea for quashing of rape charges to Goa government. A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bushan posted the matter for further hearing on April 24 and asked the Goa government to file its reply on Tejpal's petition.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said there were several inconsistencies in the statements recorded by the victim and the CCTV footage but the trial court has not considered it. He said when the proceedings had started, the police had not given him the clone copy of cell phone saying there was no such technology available.
"They gave us the clone copy of the phone only after two years when there was order from the court. From the clone copy, we can establish the conversation between the victim and the accused which had taken place before the alleged incident," Sibal said.
The bench after perusing the document given by Sibal said these can be considered by the trial court at the time of evidence.
"The trial judge is not looking at these evidences and went on to frame charges against me. This is sexual terror and the court should consider this," Sibal said.
The bench then asked the counsel for Goa government to reply to the averments made by Tejpal, to which he replied that he did not have any instructions on the plea at present.
"You (Goa government) file a reply by April 24 to the plea," the bench said and adjourned the matter. Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted a former colleague inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013. He has denied all allegations levelled against him.
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. Earlier, Tejpal had claimed there were certain inconsistencies in the video recordings and the statements of the victim recorded under section 164 of CrPC before the magistrate. He had moved the apex court against the Bombay High Court order dismissing his petition seeking quashing of rape and other charges levelled against him by a former colleague.
The Bombay High Court at Goa had on December 20 last year dismissed Tejpal's plea seeking quashing of charges against him. The trial court in Mapusa town of Goa had framed charges against Tejpal under various sections of IPC, including alleged sexual harassment and provisions related to rape. On December 6 last year, the apex court had asked the lower court to start examining witnesses in the 2013 case, saying there would be no stay of the trial.