The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea by Tehelka magazine's founder Tarun Tejpal's seeking quashing of charges in the sexual assault case lodged against him by a former woman colleague. A bench comprising justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and B R Gavai delivered the judgement, giving the Goa court 6 months to complete the trial against him. Justice Arun Mishra said while delivering the order that the crime committed was morally abhorrent.
The last Supreme Court hearing in the case had seen the bench observing that 'Tejpal would not have sent apologies to the victim if nothing had happened.' In response to this, speaking ahead of the hearing on Monday, Tejpal's counsel Vikas Singh said that the apology had been tendered in order to prevent the case going to the criminal court.
The Goa Police had earlier claimed that there were "contemporaneous" WhatsApp messages and e-mails which showed Tejpal should face trial in the alleged sexual assault case. The police, while opposing Tejpal's plea seeking quashing of charges framed against him, had told the bench that there was "ample material" warranting trial in the case.
Tejpal's counsel had refuted the allegations and told the bench that certain WhatsApp messages were concealed and referred to CCTV footage of the hotel where the alleged incident took place. The Mapusa court in Goa had in September 2017 framed charges against Tejpal under sections 376(2) for rape, 354A (sexual harassment) and 342 (wrongful confinement) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted the former colleague inside the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa in 2013. He has denied all the 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 and has been out on bail since May 2014.
He had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court's December 20, 2017 order dismissing his plea seeking quashing of charges. The three-judge bench had earlier reserved its order.
(With PTI inputs)