Former Managing Editor of the magazine Shoma Chaudhury will record her statement before the magistrate today
The police on Saturday got the custody of beleaguered Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal for four more days.
Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) (Panaji) Kshama Joshi passed the order after hearing both the parties. The Goa Police Crime Branch had sought an extension of Mr. Tejpal’s custody by eight more days after the initial six days of remand in police custody expired on Friday.
Appearing for the police, senior advocate Sarat Lotlikar made a forceful plea for extending the remand, saying that among other things the police needed to interrogate Mr. Tejpal using the witness statements being recorded under Section 164 of the Cr. PC. Surrender of documents by the accused did not mean that he was cooperating with the police, Mr. Lotlikar argued. “It is a serious matter which requires bona fide extension of his police custody as several aspects of the matter need to be confirmed and corroborated and refusal of remand would mean hampering investigation.”
Mr. Tejpal’s advocate Sandip Kapoor recalled that initially the Investigating Officer (IO) had sought police custody primarily on three counts — to facilitate the statement of the witnesses under Section 164 of the Cr. PC; to make recoveries from and at the instance of the accused; and medically examine him.
After being remanded in custody, Mr. Tejpal extended complete and unfettered cooperation to the police, Mr. Kapoor said. Police officials at different levels, including the Deputy SP and the IO, had already recorded Mr. Tejpal’s statements many times to their satisfaction, he said.
Moreover, Mr. Kapoor said, the police had also recovered the cellphone, SIM card, text messages, e-mails — exchanged between Shoma Chaudhury and Tarun Tejpal, and between the victim and the accused — clothing worn by Mr. Tejpal on November 7 and 8, his passport and PAN card details and his CPU desktop (seized from his New Delhi office.
Asking the police to make a case for each day of remand they were seeking, the defence lawyer said all types of physical, topical, forensic and medical examinations had been carried out by the police to their satisfaction. He alleged that a perusal of case diaries would show that Mr. Tejpal was interrogated for only two to three hours daily while he was in police custody.
Urging the court ought to evaluate the need for such an extension of remand as mandated by the Section 167, Mr. Kapoor said a bare perusal of the case diaries indicated that no further police remand was necessary, and pleaded that Mr. Tejpal be sent to judicial custody.