He denies intimidating Investigating Officer

Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Panaji, on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of Tarun Tejpal, Editor-In-Chief of Tehelka magazine who is an accused in a sexual assault case, by 14 days.

He was produced before JMFC Sarika Phaldesai as his judicial custody had expired on Monday.

Mr. Tejpal has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior woman journalist colleague in an elevator of a five star hotel in north Goa in the course of the magazine’s ThinkFest event in early November last year. He was arrested on November 30 last and, after initial police custody, was remanded in judicial custody at Sada Sub-jail in Vasco. Last week, the District Sessions court in Panaji rejected his plea for bail.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to the Investigating Officer (IO) Sunita Sawant of the Crime Branch of the Goa Police on Monday, Mr. Tejpal refuted the charge of intimidation she made in her reply to his bail application filed before the court.

Mr. Tejpal, inter alia, categorically denied ever threatening Ms. Sawant. “The fact is that I have been impeccably cooperative with you and your team from the very beginning. I flew to Goa on receiving the summons, and surrendered myself to you at the Crime Branch office. Even though there are many reasons to doubt the bona fides of the FIR, I did not display any rancour or reluctance in dealing with you.

“There is not a single query that was put to me in my 10 days of police custody that I did not answer. There was no line of inquiry that I stonewalled — even though very often they appeared to have little to do with the case registered against me, and were more in the nature of fishing expeditions.