Trial against Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal, accused of rape, won't be put off any longer: Top court
The trial against Tarun Tejpal
, the Tehelka founder accused of rape, will not be put off any longer, the Supreme Court ruled today, urging the Bombay High Court to decide within three months on the senior journalist's petition challenging the charges against him.
A court in Goa had asked the Supreme Court to extend the time to complete the trial.
The top court today said the Goa court shout go ahead with the trial and examine witnesses. But the court should not deliver a verdict until the High Court decides on Mr Tejpal's petition to drop the case, Supreme Court judges said.
In September, the journalist was formally charged by the Goa court with raping a junior colleague at news magazine Tehelka on the sidelines of an event in November 2013. The court rejected Mr Tejpal's petition to defer framing of charges by a month and also denied him exemption from appearing in person for court proceedings.
The former Tehelka editor has pleaded not guilty and denied all the charges against him saying they are "absolutely false" and motivated by "political vendetta".
On his petition, the High Court directed the trial court not to continue with the case without its go-ahead.
There are around 150 witnesses in the case.
The Supreme Court said, "Once the accused gets bail the urgency goes out. It is a common experience that once bail is granted, the accused is not in hurry."
The top court said it directed the trial court to complete its hearings within a year but nothing happened.
Mr Tejpal's lawyer told the Supreme Court that the trial was held up not because of his client but because the Goa government was not supplying relevant material to the trial court. He also argued that security footage from the Goa hotel where the incident allegedly took place "clearly negates charges against Mr Tejpal".
Mr Tejpal has been accused of raping a former female junior colleague during a Tehelka fest in Goa in November, 2013.