NEW DELHI: In a major setback to Tarun Tejpal, the former editor of Tehelka magazine, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed his plea to quash sexual assault charges lodged by a former junior colleague.
The court noted that the charges against the senior journalist were serious and an assault on the privacy of the victim.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also ordered the Goa trial court to conclude the trial in six months. The bench stated that there had already been an inordinate delay in concluding the trial, although the FIR was lodged in 2013.
After a Goa court ordered him to stand the trial, Tejpal moved the Supreme Court with the plea that the charges of rape and wrongful confinement against him quashed.
Another SC bench had last year in October stayed the trial in the case, pending its final decision on Tejpal’s petition.
During a brief hearing, Justice MR Shah read out the verdict and said “it was a serious and morally abhorrent offence which relates to assault on privacy” and that he must now stand the trial.
On the last date of hearing, the top court had questioned Tejpal as to why he had apologised to the former colleague if the sexual assault charges against him were a sham.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Tejpal, contended that the allegations of rape against him had no truth.The bench had then asked Tejpal the reason why he sent the letter of apology to her after the alleged incident nearly six years ago.
“If nothing had happened, you would not have sent apologies. Something inappropriate must have happened,” said Justice Mishra.
A junior colleague had accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her inside a lift at a five-star hotel in Goa during an event in 2013.
CBI gets more time to probe accident case
The SC granted two more weeks time to the CBI Monday to complete the investigation in a road accident case in which the Unnao rape survivor and her lawyer have sustained critical injuries.
A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose extended the time on CBI plea. The bench also directed the UP government to pay Rs 5 lakh to the lawyer, who remains critical and slated the hearing on September 6.