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Tejpal files anticipatory bail plea, gets interim relief

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Story Dated: Friday, November 29, 2013 06:36 hrs EST

Summoned by Goa police, Tarun Tejpal will fly to Goa by an afternoon flight to face questioning and possible arrest in the case of alleged sexual assault by him of a woman colleague.

Accompanied by his wife Geetam Batra and one of his daughters and brother, the founding editor of Tehelka magazine arrived at the airport to take a 2:30 p.m. flight to Panaji.

“I got summons. So I am heading to Goa,” Mr. Tejpal, who put up a faint smile, told reporters in a terse reply to questions.

Before getting into the departure hall with his wife for check-in, a tensed Mr. Tejpal hugged his daughter for some moments.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Tejpal’s lawyers moved the court for bail after a joint team of Goa and Delhi police went to his residence in South Delhi’s Jungpura to arrest him this morning but did not find him there. Later they carried out searches at various other places, including that of his relatives.

Mr. Tejpal’s lawyer Geeta Luthra told reporters later that he has been given interim bail till 2.30 p.m.

Mr. Tejpal, the founder editor of Tehelka magazine, has been accused of sexually assaulting his colleague during an event organised by the magazine in a five star hotel here earlier this month.

“We moved for anticipatory bail since it is the right of all citizens to have liberty. Even the Supreme Court has said that liberty of a person should not be interfered with,” Ms. Luthra said.

She said Mr. Tejpal has already sent a letter to Goa police saying he will cooperate with them. “It is not that we are going away. We will cooperate.”

When asked where Mr. Tejpal is, she said Mr. Tejpal has to be available to the court and police and would come at an appropriate time.

The lawyer said the police have only issued summons and he has to be given reasonable time to present himself before the Investigating officer.

A person who does not live in the city needs time to present himself before the authority, she said and claimed that Mr. Tejpal has maintained respect for the law. He has tried to do everything by the law.

“We are saying that the person has to be heard. He will speak to the police and will cooperate with them,” she said.

Mr. Tejpal’s wife Geetan Batra refused to divulge to the police any detail of his whereabouts, police said after they raided his residence.

The police action came after they rejected Mr. Tejpal’s request for time till Saturday to appear before them.

On Wednesday, Goa police had directed Mr. Tejpal to appear before it by 3 p.m. on Thursday. The direction had come after the victim, who has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by him in a lift in a five-star hotel in Goa, recorded her statement under Section 164 of CrPC before a magistrate in Panaji.

The controversy also saw resignation of Shoma Chaudhury as Managing Editor of Tehelka, who is being accused of attempting to cover up the matter.

Ms. Chaudhury sent her resignation on Thursday as there was speculation that she may also be named in the FIR for certain alleged acts of omission and commission after the scandal became public.

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