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The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a petition by journalist Tarun Tejpal for quashing the charges of sexual assault levelled against him by a former female colleague at Tehelka magazine where both of them worked.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Arun Mishra and also comprising Justices MR Shah and BR Gavai reserved the order but not before putting the former editor of Tehelka magazine though the wringer, even asking him why he apologised to his former colleague if he claims the sexual assault charges against him were a sham. As Tejpal’s lawyer contended that the allegations of rape against the senior journalist were cooked up and without any basis, the bench asked Tejpal why he sent the letter of apology to the woman after the alleged incident nearly six years ago. “If nothing had happened, you would not have sent apologies. Something inappropriate must have happened,” remarked Justice Mishra.

A female colleague of Tejpal had accused him of sexually assaulting her inside a lift at a five-star hotel in Goa during an event hosted by the magazine in 2013. He is currently out on bail.

After a Goa court ordered him to stand the trial, Tejpal moved the Supreme Court, seeking the charges of rape and wrongful confinement against him quashed.

Senior lawyer Vikas Singh, appearing for Tejpal, referred to the CCTV footages of the hotel lobby, argued that it was the complainant who could be seen running after him and that “she is the one who started everything”.

Singh added that anybody can make allegations like this in a lift. He further accused the police of concealing certain WhatsApp messages of the victim, which according to Singh, will prove the charges false.

—India Legal Bureau

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