New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A sessions court in Goa on Friday acquitted former Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka Magazine, Tarun Tejpal, of all charges in the alleged sexual assault case against him. The decision came after the court on Wednesday deferred its judgment for today. 

Tejpal, former Tehelka editor-in-chief, was accused of sexually assaulting a colleague inside the elevator of a luxury hotel in Goa in 2013 and was arrested on November 30 in the same year. 

The court had earlier adjourned pronouncement of the verdict in the case on three occasions, citing various reasons. The court was to deliver the verdict on April 27, but the judge had adjourned it to May 12. On May 12, it was further adjourned to May 19 and on May 19, it was adjourned to May 21.

In a statement, Tejpal said, "The past seven and a half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these false allegations on every aspect of our personal professional and public lives. We have felt the boot of the state, but through it all, we have cooperated fully with the Goa Police and the legal system, through hundreds of hours of court proceedings".

"We have unwaveringly followed every mandate of due procedure and abided by every principle of law laid in the Constitution. We have also endeavoured to uphold every norm of decency expected in a case like this," he added while thanking the court for its "rigorous, impartial and fair trial".

The Goa police registered an FIR against Tejpal in November 2013 following which he was arrested. The Goa crime branch had filed a charge sheet against Tejpal, who has been out on bail since May 2014.

He faced trial under IPC sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376(2)(f) (person in a position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)k) (rape by a person in a position of control)

On September 29, 2017, the court had charged him with various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including rape, sexual harassment, and wrongful confinement. He, however, pleaded not guilty.

Following the framing of charges, Tejpal moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the charges levelled against him. In August, the top court refused to quash the charges and directed the trial to be concluded within six months. 

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan