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Tehelka case: Court allows Tejpal to get copy of hotel CCTV footage held back by cops

Panaji, Feb 19 (PTI): A court here has allowed Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal to get the CCTV footage that has been cited as evidence by Goa Police in its charge-sheet accusing him of sexually assaulting a junior colleague at a hotel at Bambolim in north Goa.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Anuja Prabhudesai ordered the court staff to hand over a copy of the CCTV footage to Tejpal by 5pm Wednesday.

Tejpal, who is currently lodged in Sada sub jail in Vasco town, had moved an application seeking the CCTV footage, one of the crucial pieces of evidence cited by the crime branch in the charge-sheet.

Tejpal, in a statement issued Wednesday night, had accused the crime branch of hiding the crucial CCTV footage that he said could give the accurate version of the events.

“In my first and only press note of November 22, 2013 I had urged the police to obtain, examine and release the CCTV footage so that the accurate version of events stands clearly revealed,” he had said.

“I said this at a time, from Delhi, when I had neither accessed nor seen the footage. But since I was the man on the spot I knew the truth of what had happened,” the statement said.

“It is violative of due process, to not make all collected evidence available to the accused at the time of filing the charge-sheet. In fact, receipt of the footage is what we have been impatiently waiting for since the last three months. This duplicity is in keeping with the sinister and motivated political vendetta that is being pursued,” it read.

The crime branch in its charge-sheet had claimed that Tejpal has admitted to the crime and the allegations against him can be corroborated with evidences like CCTV footage, documents like email exchanged between accused and victim and the statement of the witnesses.

The investigating agency has said “there is no CCTV footage of the incidents inside the lift.”

Tejpal failed to get any immediate relief from the Bombay High Court Wednesday on his bail petition.

On Monday, Goa Police had filed a 2,846-page charge sheet against Tejpal, under sections 354, 354-A (sexual harassment), 341 and 342 (wrongful restraint), 376 (rape), 376(2)(f) and 376 (2)(k) (taking advantage of official position and raping a woman in custody).