Goa Police had sought information in connection with the alleged rape and sexual assault case against “Tehelka” co-founder Tarun Tejpal

Hollywood actor Robert de Niro has sent a reply to Goa Police, which had sought information in connection with the alleged rape and sexual assault case against Tehelka co-founder Tarun Tejpal.

“Robert de Niro has replied to the questionnaire forwarded to him by the Crime Branch through his attorney," Goa Deputy Inspector General of Police O.P. Mishra told The Hindu in Panaji on Tuesday.

Investigating Officer (IO) Sunita Sawant of the Crime Branch of Goa police has officially received the reply, he added.

The case is presently before a fast track court in Panaji. The reply of Hollywood actor becomes crucial as an application moved by the prosecution before the fast track court under section 173(8) of the CrPC, seeking time to include the response of a “witness outside the country” in the supplementary charge sheet is scheduled to come up for hearing on May 13.

The actor’s attorneys Harvey & Hackett from New York in their reply have confirmed his presence at the ThinkFest event held at a five star hotel in Goa in early November last year for four days, Mr. Mishra said.

He further said that the actor has also confirmed that the victim was chaperoning him and his family during the festival.

Mr. Mishra, however, declined to divulge any further details.

The Goa crime branch, which had filed a charge sheet against Mr. Tejpal in the case in February accusing him of raping, sexually harassing and outraging modesty of the woman, had sent a formal questionnaire to the Hollywood actor in January this year seeking his replies.

Mr. Tejpal has been accused in the charge sheet of sexually assaulting the junior woman colleague twice in the lift of the five-star hotel over a period of two days when they had gone to drop the Hollywood actor and his daughter to their suit in the hotel.

Mr. Tejpal is currently in judicial custody at Sada Sub Jail in Vasco. His bail application is being heard by the Supreme Court.