SC Extends Tarun Tejpal's Interim Bail Till June 27
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday extended till June 27 the interim bail of Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal -- accused of sexually assaulting his junior woman colleague -- so that he could attend some of the rituals related to his mother's death.
While extending the duration of the interim bail, the apex court bench of Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan brushed aside the Goa government's objections to Tejpal's plea for extension of the interim bail.
As counsel for Goa opposed Tejpal's plea for interim bail extension, the court asked why was it interested in keeping him in jail. The court asked: "(Why) you need him? (Are) you interrogating him?"
Making clear its displeasure at the way Goa Police delayed releasing Tejpal after the court granted him three weeks' interim bail May 19, the court said he could not attend his mother's funeral "because of your red-tape" (officialdom and administration).
"By virtue of the red tape, he could not attend his mother's funeral," Justice Khehar said, admonishing the Goa administration for taking time in releasing Tejpal.
Shielding his flanks, counsel said there was no delay on his part and soon after court granted bail to Tejpal, he conveyed the decision to the investigating officer of the case.
Goa counsel told the court that the rituals for which Tejpal was seeking extension of interim bail could as well be performed by his younger brother. The counsel said Tejpal will next come for bail on "barsi" (death anniversary).
Opposing the extension of interim bail, Goa counsel told the court that Tejpal's bail plea was listed for hearing in the first week of July.
The Supreme Court had April 21 issued notice to the Goa government on Tejpal's plea for bail. Tejpal was taken into custody Nov 30, 2013.
Trying to tell the court that Tejpal was a headache even when he was in incarceration, the counsel said: "Even when he is in jail, we are facing problems, as he was found with a SIM card. An FIR has already been lodged. When investigating officer goes (to question him), he threatens him."
Goa counsel said there are allegations that he was trying to influence the witnesses.
Meeting the objections by the Goa government, senior counsel Salman Khurshid said there were no allegations of assault against Tejpal and he has been booked under a new law which itself was under (judicial) test.
Khurshid said the hearing of Tejpal's bail plea, listed for the first week of July, could be advanced and taken up during the summer recess.
Tejpal has to perform rituals that will last for 21 days and conclude by June 27, the court was told.
Tejpal was arrested in Goa following accusation of sexual assault on his junior woman colleague in a five-star hotel during an event organised by Tehelka Nov 7-8 last year.
He was charged Feb 18 with rape, sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of his colleague.