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Tejpal surfaces, under family protection

New Delhi, Nov. 29: Tarun Tejpal finally showed up at Delhi airport this afternoon, having dodged the media since the Tehelka sexual assault case broke over a week ago.

Dressed in a black suit, he was accompanied by his wife Geetan and two daughters as well as sister Neena and brother Minty. After getting out of his car outside the airport around 1pm, he spoke briefly with reporters who had camped outside since morning.

“I got the summons yesterday from Goa police. So I am going to Goa,” he said, before beginning to walk into the terminal.

The Tehelka editor-in-chief looked annoyed and ready to retort when some reporters asked why he had been “hiding” since a journalist made allegations against him. But his lawyers stopped him from replying while his sister put her arm around his waist and led him inside.

“Please don’t talk to themů” Neena told him. Later, he was seen hugging his daughters.

At 2.30pm, Tejpal and his entire team boarded an IndiGo flight to Goa. Several TV journalists and photographers, as well as three Goa policemen who had landed in Delhi last night in search of Tejpal, were seen taking the same flight.

On board, Tejpal spoke to some reporters. “I was in Delhi and was not hiding from anyone. I was not running from the law and am going willingly to Goa to join the probe. I have been implicated in the case and truth will soon come out,” a source quoted him as saying.

When some photographers tried to click pictures, his daughters and brother shielded him from the camera. “Please leave himů don’t try to talk to himů please go from here,” a family member said, after repeatedly requesting photographers not to take pictures.

When the plane landed in Goa at 5.05pm, all passengers and mediapersons were asked to disembark. Tejpal and his team, however, stayed on board for nearly 15 minutes as Goa policemen and CISF personnel stood on the tarmac and worked their phones.

Sources said that with Tejpal’s bail hearing under way in a Goa sessions court, the policemen were trying to find out whether he should be taken there or asked to wait at the airport till the court issued its orders.

After 15 minutes, some policemen escorted Tejpal, his family members and lawyers into the airport and asked them to wait.

Around 6pm, the court issued orders allowing Tejpal interim relief against arrest till 10am on Saturday. Soon after, he and his family left the airport in a car.

Later in the evening, he went to the Goa police crime branch office for questioning.

Earlier in the morning in Delhi, there was a flutter when the Goa police officers and their Delhi counterparts went to Tejpal’s south Delhi home and his friend’s house to look for him. But they could not find him at either place.

The drama subsided after Tejpal’s lawyers informed the media at 11am that he would be taking the afternoon flight to Goa.