A Sessions court in Goa on Friday granted interim protection to Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal against arrest till 10 am Saturday. Tejpal has been accused of sexually assaulting his junior colleague in a five-star hotel in Goa. The court will resume hearing on Saturday morning.
Dodging a combined team of Goa and Delhi Police that visited his house in Delhi at the crack of dawn to arrest him, Tejpal landed in Panaji around the time District and Sessions judge Anuja Prabhudesai gave him the reprieve till Saturday morning.
Tejpal was detained by Goa Police on his arrival at the Goa airport. Goa Police sought custodial interrogation of Tejpal, saying he is trying to evade questioning.
The judge, who had issued non-bailable warrants to Goa and Delhi Police for his arrest earlier in the morning, later stayed his arrest till 2.30 pm on an anticipatory bail application moved by Tejpal’s lawyers.
During arguments on the bail application in the post-lunch session, Tejpal’s lawyer Geeta Luthra contended that he was a man of ‘high integrity and reputation’.
After securing the relief, Tejpal left Delhi by a 2.30 pm flight, accompanied by his wife Geetan Batra, other family members and lawyers.
Before boarding the aircraft, Tejpal said he was going to Goa as he has got summons from the police.
Television journalists on board the same flight milled around an unwilling Tejpal for comments that the air crew reportedly threatened to make an emergency landing in some other destination.
Tejpal faced some protests and black flag demonstration by BJP’s youth wing activists as he left the Dabolim airport amidst tight security.
During arguments, Luthra twice took the name of the victim to which the public prosecutor took strong exception.
The judge sternly told the lawyer this was not right on her part to name the victim. “You know the law is strict on it,” the judge said.
(With inputs from agencies)