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Goa court acquits journalist Tarun Tejpal in sexual harassment case
In 2013, a woman -- who was Tejpal's colleague -- had registered a complaint against him
A Goa court on Friday acquitted former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejpal of all charges in the alleged sexual assault case against him. The journalist was accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague at a hotel in Goa in 2013.
In 2013, a woman -- who was Tejpal's colleague -- had registered a complaint against him, accusing him of sexually assaulting her inside the lift of a five-star hotel in Goa. On the basis of the complaint, the Goa Police, in November 2013, filed a case against the former Tehelka editor-in-chief and arrested him. He was released on bail in May 2014.
The journalist approached the Bombay High Court, seeking a stay on the framing of charges against him, but the court dismissed his petition. He also filed a plea in the Supreme Court, challenging the charges framed against him. The apex court, too, dismissed his petition and directed that the trial in the case be completed within six months.
The former Tehelka editor-in-chief faced the trial under Indian Penal Code 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).
The trial began in September 2017 and concluded in 2021, but the pronouncement of verdict in the case was adjourned on three occasions. Earlier, the sessions court in Goa was to pronounce the verdict on May 19, but the judge had adjourned it to May 21 due to a "power outage" as a consequence of Cyclone Tauktae. Before this, the judgement was adjourned on two more occasions due to various reasons including lack of staff due to new SOPs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.