NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted regular bail to Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal in a sexual assault case filed by his colleague with a warning that it will be cancelled if he tries to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses.
A Bench headed by Justice H L Dattu, said denial of bail to him would curtail his liberty and come in the way of him getting fair trial if he remains in jail. The Bench imposed stringent conditions for his release and said it was not disposing Tejpal’s petition and keeping it alive so that violation of any one of the condition by him would enable the Goa Police to immediately move court for the recall of the bail order.
It asked the trial court judge in Goa to expeditiously complete the trial in the case, preferably within eight months.
The court disagreed with the submissions made by Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the Goa Government which contended that reasonable apprehension of influencing witnesses and Tejpal’s past conduct in this regard should be considered as grounds for denying him regular bail.
While opposing the bail plea, the ASG alleged that “there has been systematic attempt to attack the victim’s psyche and there have been a chain of events in the past few months indicating reasonable apprehension of tampering with evidence.”
The Goa Government opposed Tejpal’s plea, saying that the victim and her boyfriend were getting threatening emails. The Bench asked senior advocate Salmam Khurshid, appearing for Tejpal, to convey to his client that any violation of the bail conditions by him directly or indirectly would invite trouble for him.