This Article is From Nov 30, 2013

Tehelka case: Tarun Tejpal changing colours like a chameleon, says prosecution

Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal at Goa Crime Branch office

Panjim: Tarun Tejpal, the founder of Tehelka who has been accused of rape, today offered to surrender his passport in a Goa court to avoid arrest.

"I offer to surrender my passport. Please don't arrest me," he told judge Anuja Prabhudesai, who is hearing his plea for bail.

However, the prosecution claimed that the woman journalist, who Mr Tejpal is accused of raping, has been consistent in all her statements, while Mr Tejpal is "changing colours like a chameleon."

"All versions of the victim's statements are the same...no embellishments of any sorts... Tejpal had tendered an apology," the prosecution said, adding "It's a prima facie case, Goa Police wants Tejpal arrested for custodial interrogation."

Mr Tejpal is likely to be arrested if he does not get bail today.

Ahead of the bail hearing, Mr Tejpal visited the Goa Crime Branch office this morning. Police sources say Mr Tejpal was not quizzed and stayed there for 10 minutes.

"We have joined the investigation started by the Crime Branch yesterday. We will join today also," Mr Tejpal told reporters after coming out of the office. Yesterday, Mr Tejpal was interrogated at the Goa crime branch office for over an hour.

Yesterday, in court, the judge appeared to reject all major arguments offered by Mr Tejpal's lawyers as they petitioned for his bail. The judge also censured Geeta Luthra, Mr Tejpal's lawyer, for naming the woman reporter, who was allegedly raped. "Are you trying to malign her? We are not playing to the gallery. This is not a minor mistake," she said.

The judge seemed unimpressed with the defence lawyers' claims that the case against Mr Tejpal is a political conspiracy, and that the delay in filing the complaint by his colleague suggests it's inauthentic.

Mr Tejpal's appearance at the Delhi airport on Friday afternoon before he boarded the flight for Goa was his first public sighting since he was accused of raping the reporter at an annual Tehelka conference in Goa earlier this month. She did not press charges, but detailed her allegations against him to her boss at Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhary, in an email that was leaked. (Tehelka case: What Tejpal did to me is legally rape, she says in statement)

The Goa Police used that email to commence its investigation against Mr Tejpal. Ms Chaudhary resigned as Tehelka's Managing Editor on Thursday.