SC tells Tejpal not to tamper with proof, gives regular bail

The top court on Tuesday granted regular bail to Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal in a sexual assault case filed by his colleague with a warning that it will be cancelled if he tries to tamper with evidence or induce witnesses. A bench headed by Justice HL Dattu, however, said denial of bail to him would curtail his liberty and would come in the way of him getting fair trial if he remains in jail.
The bench, also comprising justice SA Bobde, which imposed stringent conditions for his release on bail, said it was not (not) disposing Tejpal’s petition and keeping it alive so that violation of any one of the condition by him would enable the Goa police to immediately move the apex court for the recall of the bail order.

It asked the trial court judge in Goa to expeditiously complete the trial in the case, preferably within eight months from on Tuesday. The SC did not agree with the Goa government’s contention that reasonable apprehension of influencing witnesses and Tejpal’s past conduct in this regard should be considered as grounds for denying him regular bail. The bench also disagreed with Additional Solicitor General Neerak Kishan Kaul, who was appearing for Goa Police, that Tejpal should be kept in jail till the victim and four of her friends, named as prime witnesses in the case, record their testimonies in the trial court.

While opposing the bail plea, the ASG alleged that ‘there has been systematic attempt to attack the victim’s psyche and there have been a chain of events in the past months indicating reasonable apprehension of tampering with evidence.’ The Goa govt opposed Tejpal’s plea, saying that victim and her boyfriend were getting threatening emails from some phishing sites and they seemed to be under some surveilance.
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