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Escape cloud hurts Tejpal

Panaji, March 14 (PTI): Bombay High Court today rejected the bail plea of Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a junior colleague, saying he might influence witnesses or even “flee from justice”.

Justice U.V. Bakre of the high court’s Goa bench in his 45-page order said Tejpal was an “influential person” who would like to protect his reputation and name “anyhow”.

The journalist was arrested on November 30, 2013, after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected. Tejpal was not present in court today.

The judge, who heard the arguments in-camera and also in open court, observed that Tejpal is “financially well placed with numerous contacts”, since he was Tehelka news magazine’s editor-in-chief.

The order also quoted the victim’s statement that Tejpal “with his wealth, lawyers and political connections, could wipe her out any time he desired”. “That shows how terrified the girl is,” the court observed.

Soon after the judgment, Tejpal’s lawyer Sandip Kapoor said they would challenge the order in a higher court.

Earlier in the day, Tejpal was granted permission to visit his ailing mother at a Goa hospital.

Tejpal had moved court to meet his mother Shakuntala who, he said, was suffering from brain tumour and was in the last stage of her life. Shakuntala is admitted to a hospital at Mapusa town, about 50km from Sada sub-jail where Tejpal is lodged.

Tejpal is likely to visit his mother tomorrow morning.