The district and sessions court at Mapusa in north Goa on 21 May acquitted journalist Tarun Tejpal in a 2013 case of alleged rape. The former Tehelka editor-in-chief, Tarun Tejpal was accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a woman colleague inside the elevator of a luxury hotel in Goa in 2013. He was acquitted of all charges in the alleged sexual assault case against him.
Thanking the court, Tarun Tejpal, in the statement, said, “In November 2013, I was accused of sexual assault by a colleague. Today, the sessions court acquitted me. In all these years, several lawyers came to our aid and we owe them all a debt.”
Reading out a statement on behalf of his father, Tarun Tejpal’s daughter said, “The past seven and 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 public, professional and personal lives.”
The Goa police registered an FIR against Tarun Tejpal in November 2013 following which he was arrested. Tarun Tejpal has been out on bail since May 2014. The Goa crime branch had filed a charge sheet against Tejpal.
Tarun expressed gratitude to his family members and friends for standing by him through the ‘dark years’.
The judgement was announced by the court after several rounds of deferral due to lack of staff members due to the coronavirus pandemic. The court was earlier going to pronounce the verdict on 27 April, but it was adjourned to 12 May. On 12 May, it was further deferred to 19 May and subsequently shifted to 21 May.
Tarun Tejpal 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 position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)k) (rape by person in position of control).