The Delhi High Court Tuesday declined to give interim relief to Tehelka news magazine editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal after the Goa Police opposed his plea for anticipatory bail. Justice Sunita Gupta declined to give any relief to Tejpal, who is facing charges of sexually assaulting a journalist colleague, and asked the police to file a reply by Wednesday. Goa Police opposed the bail application, saying the matter was serious in nature. The police said they have not received a copy of the bail application. Tejpal’s counsel K.T.S Tulsi and Geeta Luthra asked the court to pass an order granting him protection from arrest till Goa Police filed its reply. “I am asking for one day’s protection. I am not running away from country,” Tejpal’s counsel Luthra pleaded. Tulsi added: “This has become a political battle. I am entitled to interim protection.” Tulsi said that at best, the case related to outraging the modesty of a woman. “It is a figment of imagination that it has become a case of (rape). Even the girl has not made any statement to police,” Tulsi said. A Tehelka journalist has accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her twice at a five star resort in Panaji this month. Tejpal Friday asked investigators to “examine and release the CCTV footage so that the accurate version of events stands clearly revealed”.
Tejpal said that the registration of a first information report and the investigation by the Goa Police was a result of the BJP’s vendetta to satisfy a “long standing grudge” against him for the investigative journalism he did against the party when it ruled the country. In 2001, Tejpal was behind a sting operation on leaders of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government that exposed corruption in defence deals. It resulted in the resignations of then BJP president Bangaru Laxman and defence minister George Fernandes. Tejpal claimed that the FIR in which he has been booked for rape was registered in “pursuance of a well-planned criminal conspiracy to falsely prosecute” him. The investigation “is being used as an opportunity to satisfy the longstanding grudge of the political executive against the crusade, work and ideological stand of the present petitioner”, the petition said.