The Founder and Editor of Tehelka Magazine Tarun Tejpal, was acquitted by Mapusa District and Sessions court in Goa, of sexual harassment and rape case charges filed by a former colleague in 2013.
On 7th November, 2013, Tejpal was accused of harassing the woman in an elevator, of a five star hotel during an event. The Goa Crime Branch arrested him, for the same crime on 30th November, 2013 and was granted bail by SC (Supreme Court) on 14th July, 2014.
The Goa Crime Branch presented a 2,846 page charge sheet before Goa Fast Track Court against journalist Tarun Tejpal, accusing him of alleged evidence against him to prove guilty.
On 29th February, 2017 the trail court charged him with sexual harassment, rape and wrongful confinement case, which come under the sections of Indian Penal Code. In the mean time Tejpal knocked the door of Bombay High Court and Supreme Court seeking to discharge the case against him, claiming it to be ‘falsely fabricated’. The Bombay High Court reserved plea of Tejpal’s case wherein the Apex Court ordered Goa Court to continue trail and record evidence in 2013 Rape Case.
In August 2019, in-camera trail proceedings held, on Tejpal’s request, restricting public gathering and media from covering it.
On 7th December 2020, the court examined and cross-examined victim cum survivor for a month, i.e., till 7th January 2020, via video conferencing and physical appearances. The prosecution examined 71 witnesses and the defence had four witnesses, including family members of both the accused and the survivor. The trial concluded at the end of February 2021 and, after final arguments were made by both sides, the judgment was reserved.
Court failed to pronounce judgement on 27th April, 2021, later 12th May 2021, and 19th May, 2021 due to first shortage of staff amid COVID-19 second wave outbreak and then due to cyclone Tauktae hit.
Tejpal and his family were present at Mapusa Court when Special judge Kshyama Joshi pronounced the verdict of ‘not guilty’.
Later, the 58 year old journalist daughter Cara Tejpal held a press conference on her father’s behalf, thanking the judges and the his lawyers, especially Rajiv Gomes, who died last week due to COVID-19. The statement said “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,”
It further read “as a family, we owe our advocate Rajiv Gomes a profound and permanent debt. 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 personal, professional and public lives. We have endeavoured to uphold every norm of decency expected in a case like this.”