My only interest is to ensure the victim gets justice, he says
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday rubbished charges that the Bharatiya Janata Party and he were politicising the alleged sexual assault of a woman journalist by Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal.
At a specially convened press conference at the Secretariat here on Wednesday, Mr. Parrikar denied that he was taking any undue interest in the case. He asserted that his only interest was to ensure that the victim, who had made such serious charges, got justice. He wanted the case fast-tracked. But that, he said, would be decided by the judiciary. The Chief Minister rejected Mr. Tejpal’s claim that the BJP was pressuring police to act against him.
“Such high profile cases should not be dragged on. They are basically a shocker to public faith,” Mr. Parrikar said. He was of the view that justice should be given to the victim, who felt offended and criminally intimidated.
“I don’t come under pressure from anyone. My only instruction to the police is to not get pressured due to the profile of the accused.,” he said.
After he was persistently bombarded with calls from journalists asking about the investigation, he directed the Director-General of Police to arrange for daily media-briefings. He decided to come to the press as some media reports insinuated that he was seeking hourly reports from the police over the issue.
Calls for restraint
“I have no time or inclination to do so. Investigation will take its own course. The matter is sensitive and as such media needs to maintain restraint and allow the investigating agencies to do the job in a legal way. It is neither my practice nor habit to conduct briefing on police investigations,” he said.
The government did not intend to monitor the case except asking the police for speedy disposal of the case. “If anything like that can ever be proved, I will quit politics. I believe that law should be followed in letter and principle,” he said.
When he was told that the Congress was saying that for a fair trial, the case has to be moved out of Goa, he asked if Mr. Tejpal was a “Congress stooge” and wondered why some Congress Union Ministers were supporting him.
“It was his guilty conscience that made him confess,” Mr. Parrikar said in the context of Mr. Tejpal’s email to Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury in response to his junior colleague’s complaint.
Mr. Parrikar declined to comment on observations of some national leaders of the BJP. “I am the Goa Chief Minister. As an administrator, I am acting to ensure that the victim gets speedy justice. I am not going to say anything on the comments of BJP leaders,” he said.