Journalist Tarun Tejpal, who was acquitted of rape charges in a 2013 case by court in Goa on Friday, said the last seven-and-a-half years had been “traumatic” for his family as they dealt with the “catastrophic fallout of the false allegations” against him.
The former Tehelka editor-in-chief also thanked the court for a “rigorous, impartial and fair trial” in the case.
A sessions court acquitted Tejpal of sexually assaulting a woman, who was his colleague at that time, in an elevator of a five star resort in the state.
Tejpal, who was present in the court when the verdict was given, later issued a statement that was read out to media persons by his daughter Tara outside the court building in Mapusa town near Panaji.
In the statement, he said, “The past seven-and-a-half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these false allegations on every aspect of our personal, professional and public lives.”
“We have felt the boot of the state, but through it all, we have co-operated fully with the Goa police and the legal system, through hundreds of court proceedings,” he said.
Statement from the Tejpal family: pic.twitter.com/A48jgednyS— Smita (@smitagnair) May 21, 2021
Tejpal said he and his family have unwaveringly followed every mandate of due procedure and abided by every principle of law as laid down in the Constitution.
“We have also endeavoured to uphold every norm of decency expected in a case like this,” he said.
It is with profound respect that I thank this court for its rigorous, impartial and fair trial and for its thorough examination of the CCTV footage and other empirical material on record, Tejpal added.
His lawyer Rajiv Gomes, who defended his case in the court, succumbed to the COVID-19 infection last week.
Remembering him, Tejpal said, “Seldom does a long fought for vindication arrives hand-in-hand with profound heartbreak. Last week, my trial lawyer Rajiv Gomes died of Covid.”
“Dynamic and brilliant, at 47 he was on the brink of a scintillating career as a criminal lawyer at the national level,” he added.
He also thanked a group of lawyers, including Pramod Dubey, Aamir Khan, Ankur Chawla, Amit Desai, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Aman Lekhi, Sandeep Kapoor, Raian Karanjewala and Shrikant Shivade.
“There is a higher court than courts of Justice and that is the court of Conscience. It supercedes all other courts.” Mahatma Gandhi #TarunTejpal— Sanchaita Gajapati (@sanagajapati) May 21, 2021
The Goa police had registered an FIR against Tejpal in November 2013, following which he was arrested.
The Goa crime branch had filed a charge sheet against Tejpal, who has been out on bail since May 2014.
Tarun Tejpal acquittal proves that in India, if you have money and you speak good English, you can get away with anything— The Kaipullai (@thekaipullai) May 21, 2021
He faced the trial under IPC sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354-A (sexual harassment), 354-B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 376(2)(f) (person in a position of authority over women, committing rape) and 376(2)k) (rape by a person in a position of control).