The Supreme Court rejected on Monday Tehelka magazine founder Tarun Tejpal's plea to quash rape charges levelled against him in a Goa court. The top court further directed the lower court in Goa to complete the trial within six months. Tejpal was accused of sexual assault by a female colleague in 2013.
The SC bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said that this is a "serious and morally abhorrent offence". The bench added that there could be no further delay since the complaint was filed six years ago.
The complaint was filed by a former female employee of Tejpal's, who alleged that he sexually assaulted her in an elevator of a five-star hotel in Goa, following which shed quit her job.
Tejpal had stepped down as Tehelka editor. He was arrested on November 30, 2013, after his plea for anticipatory bail was rejected. Tejpal has been on bail since May 2014.
He is facing charges under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (rape) and Section 354 (b) (criminal assault with intent to disrobe) of the IPC.
The former editor had said in court that the allegations were "absolutely false" and were motivated by "political vendetta". However, the CCTV footage of the elevator shows that he assaulted the victim.
Due to the allegations levelled against him, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) had ousted Tejpal along with MJ Akbar, who was called out in the MeToo movement last year.
A statement from the EGI read: "The Editors Guild of India (EGI) had sought the views of its Executive Committee (EC) on what action should be taken against Mr M.J. Akbar, a dormant member at present and one of its past presidents, Mr Tarun Tejpal and Mr Gautam Adhikari in light of the charges of sexual misconduct levelled against them by several women journalists. A majority of the EC members suggested that the membership of Mr Akbar should be suspended."