Tarun Tejpal arrested after Goa court rejects bail plea

TejpalTarun Tejpal outside the District and Sessions Court in Panaji on Saturday

Goa Police arrested Tehelka magazine founder-editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a woman colleague, after a local court rejected his anticipatory bail petition on Saturday night.

District and Sessions Judge Anuja Prabhudesai passed the order dismissing Tejpal's plea for relief after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence.

He was arrested at the Crime Branch headquarters where he had been waiting for the ruling.

The prosecution strongly opposed the bail plea saying custodial interrogation of Tejpal was required because prima facie a case of rape had been made out against him.

But the judge allowed Tejpal to take the assistance of his lawyer briefly once a day, if he wants, during questioning if he is taken into custody. He will also be allowed to have home-cooked food.

The judge, who earlier in the morning reserved the order for 4.30 pm, pronounced it only after 8 pm.

Police have filed an FIR slapping charges of rape and outraging the modesty of a woman journalist of Tehelka during an event hosted by the magazine at a five-star hotel in Goa earlier this month.

If convicted, Tejpal faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life sentence in jail.

Public Prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar argued Tejpal should be in police custody for proper questioning. He said Tejpal had been changing his version and was now claiming he had not been heard.

"The accused has been changing colours like a chameleon through different statements," Lotlikar told the court.

Tejpal, who was present in the court today, was later heckled by a protester who hurled a black flag at him but missed the target as he entered the car.

Lotlikar said CCTV footage of the hotel, where the incident had occurred, gave enough hints confirming the allegation of rape. He said Tejpal was not available for Goa Police and appeared only after getting interim relief from the court yesterday.

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