Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal was today charged by Goa police with rape, sexual harassment and outraging modesty of a woman journalist in a lift of a five-star hotel here in November last year.
If proven guilty, Tejpal can be sentenced for more than seven years of imprisonment on these charges.
Investigating officer Sunita Sawant has charged Tejpal under sections 354, 354-A (sexual harassment), 341 and 342 (wrongful restrain), 376 (rape), 376(2)(f) and 376 (2)(k) (takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody).
The 2,684-page charge sheet filed before Chief Judicial Magistrate Anuja Prabhudesai has examined 152 witnesses including the victim, staff of Tehelka magazine and the investigating officer in the case.
The charge sheet mentions that there are enough statements on record to prove that Tejpal has admitted the commission of rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of the victim.
The investigating officer has noted that there are incriminating emails in this regard containing his apology, email letters to the victim regarding rape, sexual harassment, and outraging her modesty which were retrieved at his instance.
As per the complaint, the victim was reportedly sexually assaulted by Tejpal on November 7 and the offence was repeated on November 8.
Goa Police has claimed in the charge sheet that there is sufficient evidence available in the form of documents and statements on record to show that Tejpal had been evading police after commission of crime.
Tejpal, 50, was arrested on November 30 last year and has since been lodged in Sada sub jail in Vasco town, about 40 kms from here.
Police have said that there is sufficient evidence available in the form of documents and statements on record to prove that the events prior to the offence, which took place in the lift of the Guest House 7 of Hotel Grand Hyatt at Bambolim in Goa, were covered under CCTV surveillance.
The charge sheet mentions that the CCTV footage was subsequently identified by the victim.
"It is important to mention that there is no CCTV camera inside the lift," the charge sheet reads.
Among the various witnesses, police have recorded statement of the hotel staff.
The investigating officer has said that there is sufficient evidence available in the form of documents, statements and electronic records to prove the offence.
Police have said that the computers and mobile phones from which emails and SMSes were generated by the victim and Tarun Tejpal were properly seized under panchanama and sent for forensic examination, the reports of which have been received.
The charge sheet has pointed out the statement of the victim wherein she has said that the incident happened when she and the accused had gone to drop Hollywood star Robert de Niro back to his room, during the event.
The charge sheet has extensively quoted the email and SMS conversation between the accused and victim after the incident.
Read The Sunday Standard Exclusive: Fall of a media moralist