Former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal has been acquitted of rape charges by the District and Sessions Court at Mapusa, Goa on Friday. Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi pronounced the judgment.
“In November 2013, I was falsely accused of sexual assault by a colleague. Today the Hon’ble Trial Court of Additional Sessions Judge Kshama Joshi, in Goa, has honourably acquitted me. In an awfully vitiated age, where ordinary courage has become rare, I thank her for standing by the truth,” wrote Tejpal in a press statement.
In the statement, he also thanked his trial lawyer Rajiv Gomes, who died of Covid last week.
The court announced the judgement after several adjournments due to lack of staff members due to the pandemic. The verdict was to be pronounced on April 27, but the judge reserved her verdict. The trial was held in-camera at Tejpal's insistance.
Tejpal, who is out on bail, was arrested in 2013 on the charges of raping a colleague in the elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa on the sidelines of a conference.
Tejpal had been charged with rape, sexual harassment, and wrongful confinement by a court in 2017. He challenged the charges in the Supreme Court, which said the trial in Goa must be concluded within six months.
After the victim complained to Tehelka's then managing editor, Tejpal had sent a formal apology to her, stating, "I apologise unconditionally for the shameful lapse of judgement that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you on two occasions on November 7 and November 8 2013, despite your clear reluctance that you did not want such attention from me."