However, prosecution will reply in open court

Hearing on the bail application of Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexual assault on a journalist colleague, began before District and Sessions judge Anuja Prabhudesai here on Saturday. His lawyer Amit Desai, who was heard on the point of law in open court, will continue his arguments, in camera, on Tuesday, based on the material produced by the prosecution. The prosecution will reply later in open court.

Earlier, making a forceful plea for an in-camera hearing after the court had rejected it, the lawyer said Mr. Tejpal was a victim of media frenzy and media trial. An in-camera session would facilitate effective hearing on the bail plea in terms of the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution.

It was obligatory, at the stage of bail, for the court to harmonise the presumption of innocence of the accused with the material collected during the investigation which was considered to be of a sensitive nature, the lawyer said.

Opposing the plea, senior advocate Sarat Lotlikar, appearing for the State, said that in an in-camera hearing, limits were exceeded in the name of protecting the interests of the accused.

After Mr. Desai placed before the judge an illustration of what could transpire in the course of scrutiny of the sensitive material in open court, Ms. Prabhudesai agreed to hear that portion of the proceedings in-camera.

Pleading for bail to Mr. Tejpal, Mr. Desai said his client had fully cooperated with the investigators, all recoveries were made and all interrogation was completed. Rejecting the concern at the possibility of the accused influencing the complainant or witnesses, the lawyer pointed out that the victim did not come forward with the complaint but she was constrained to lodge one after the State suo motu filed an FIR.

Judicial custody extended

Meanwhile, judicial custody for Mr. Tejpal was extended by 10 more days by Judicial Magistrate First Class Panaji Kshama Joshi.

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