TARUN TEJPAL ANTICIPATORY BAIL APPLICATION – FULL TEXT
IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI , AT NEW DELHI
BAIL APPLICATION NO. 2212 OF 2013
IN THE MATTER OF:-
SHRI TARUN TEJPAL S/O INDERJIT TEJPAL
R/O 12, LINK ROAD, JANGPURA EXTENSION NEW DELHI
STATE (THROUGH N.C.T. OF DELHI)
STATE OF GOA
Through DIG, CID
Through resident Commissioner, GOA …RESPONDENT 2
FIR NO 27/ 2013 UNDER SECTION 354-A, 376 and 376(2)(k) IPC REGD. AT PS DONA PAULA GOA
APPLICATION SEEKING GRANT OF ANTICIPATORY BAIL UNDER SECTION 438 OF THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, 1973 ON BEHALF OF THE APPLICANT.
MOST RESPECTFULY SHOWETH:-
- That, the Applicant is the erstwhile Editor-in-chief of the Tehelka, weekly magazine. The Applicant is a journalist, Author and Publisher of immense global repute. Throughout his career, the Applicant has striven for transparency and accountability in public life and is the foremost critic of right wing majoritarian politics in the country. Throughout his career, therefore, the Applicant has been an avid campaigner against any attempts to tarnish the secular fabric of the country.
- That the Applicant works and resides in New Delhi with his family. He has been the managing editor of the Tehelka group which has its principal office in Greater Kailash, Part 2, New Delhi. The magazine is also published from New Delhi. The enquiry in terms of Vishakha Guidelines is also been conducted at New Delhi.
- That the Applicant alongwith his wife Geetan travelled from Delhi to Goa via Jaipur to attend an annual conference by the name of THINK 2013, hosted by Tehelka magazine, of which the Applicant was then the Editor.
- That on 07/11/2013, while the said event was still on, the Applicant had a meeting with one of his female colleagues. It is pertinent to note here that the said encounter was only light hearted bantering. The nature of the said meeting can be easily established by a perusal of the CCTV footage of Hotel Hyatt, Goa, which is within the knowledge and reach of Goa Police but the same has been blatantly ignored by the Investigating Agency. That on 08/11/2013 a further meeting took place between the two individuals but the same lasted for few seconds and contained no incident which could constitute the commission of a cognizable offence.
- That, subsequent to the aforementioned meeting, the Applicant did not have any further interaction with the above mentioned female colleague. The colleague referred above, continued to party and was completely normal and friendly all throughout her stay in Goa. She was at every party and social event through the conference and stayed out late into the night.
- That there was not a single whisper from any corner including above mentioned lady that any alleged untoward occurrence had taken place during the “THINK” fest.
- That, to the shock of the Applicant, on 18th November 2013, the Applicant was informed by the Managing Editor of Tehelka Magazine that she has received a complaint alleging sexual harassment against him from a female colleague. The Applicant was shocked to learn about this false complaint of alleged harassment and categorically refuted the same.
- That, it was after a long delay of over 10 days that the Applicant was first informed that a complaint has been received against him. The alleged complaint is clearly motivated, false and an afterthought.
- That the Applicant was shocked to learn of the complaint and categorically and immediately refuted
each and every allegation. The Managing Editor, however, refused to even listen to the Applicant’s version and overrode him, telling him that she was making the decision in Tehelka’s interest.
- That the Applicant was told that a committee was being set up in terms of the “Vishakha guidelines” as have been laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India by the Managing Editor and was accordingly advised to step down for a period of 6 months so that an unbiased enquiry could be conducted. Accordingly, the Applicant stepped down for 6 months.
- That, further, to the shock of the Applicant, biased and misleading accounts have been published by the media to victimize the Applicant and, as part of the pre-planned conspiracy to falsely implicate the Applicant. The same has been blown out of
proportion by various groups with vested interests, including topmost executives of Goa and even national political leaders of one party. A copy of the statement made by the CM of Goa on 21.11.2013 has been attached hereto and marked as Annexure A.
- The bias with which the investigation in the instant matter is propelled can best be illustrated from the news report which appeared in Times of India dated 24.11.2013.A copy of the said news article dated 24.11.2013 is annexed here to and marked as
- That on 22.11.2013, the Applicant, through media reports learnt of the registration of an FIR against him by Goa Police under Sections 354A, 376, 376(2) (k) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 [hereinafter referred to as ‘the IPC’], which clearly is founded solely on the basis of media reports of alleged harassment by the Applicant.
- It is pertinent that no complaint has been made to Respondent no. 2 either by the lady who is the alleged victim or any member of her family. It is unprecedented that the state should make a complaint or register an FIR without the knowledge, statement or consent of any aggrieved complainant without any person with a grievance or with locus for a preliminary inquiry in an alleged occurrence of this nature. This is particularly significant as reference to the alleged occurrence by the lady is after more than 10 days of the alleged incident which took place on 7th-8th of November 2013 and is belated and an afterthought.
- That the Applicant has well founded reasons to believe that the officers of Respondent No.2, in their endeavor to appease their political masters are turning a blind eye to crucial pieces of evidence establishing the innocence of the present Applicant, in abrogation of their primary duty, i.e. to conduct a fair investigation and reveal the truth. Moreover, the manner and the scale on which a particular political party has unleashed the wrath of its vengeance upon the Applicant in the garb of the present FIR is synonymous with the previous attempts of the BJP to malign and target the Applicant and the same is apparent by the statements issued by various party leaders. The wrath of leaders of the BJP, individuals whom the Goa Police cannot antagonize, against the Present Applicant, is best manifested from the statements made by them demanding that the Applicant should “atone in jail.” Some have even alluded to Tehelka’s first undercover expose which resulted in the resignation of the then BJP President, Bangaru Laxman, suggesting it was now payback time.
- That, in light of the aforementioned facts and circumstances the Applicant has no trust in the Goa police and believes that Respondent no.2, because of political interference and the mala fides of the state government, is turning a blind eye to crucial pieces of evidence. He therefore seeks intervention of this Hon’ble court under section 438 of the CRPC, against any unreasonable deprivation of his liberty by the Investigating authorities on the following grounds amongst others.
A. BECAUSE, as per Capt. Satish Kumar Sharma vs Delhi Administration, ILR 1990 DELHI 203, this Hon’ble court has held :
”………. viewed from different angle, under Art. 226 of the Constitution the High Court has been given still wider powers. Under Art. 226(2) it has been provided that the power conferred by Clause (1) to issue directions, orders or writs to any Government, authority or person may also be exercised by any High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to the territories within which the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises for the exercise of such power notwithstanding that the seat of such Government or authority or the residence of such persons is not within those
territories…………In other words, the Applicant is sought to be deprived of his personal liberty and threatened to be arrested in Delhi within the jurisdiction of High Court of Delhi and through the police officers of Delhi to whom the warrant has been endorsed, although the offence is alleged to have been committed in the State of Uttar Pradesh. Therefore, it cannot be disputed that since there is a threat of deprivation of liberty of the Applicant in the State of Delhi in connection with an offence alleged to have been committed in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the cause of action in part certainly arises in Delhi. Therefore, this Court has Jurisdiction in the matter irrespective of the scat of the Government or the High Court within whose jurisdiction the offence is alleged to have been committed. Therefore, in the light of the discussion above, we have no doubt in mind that since the Applicant has reason to believe that he may be arrested on an accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence in Delhi, this Court has certainly the jurisdiction to enlarge the Applicant on anticipatory bail under S. 438 of the Criminal P.C. as well as under Art. 226 of the Constitution.”
- BECAUSE, it is well established that as per the cardinal principles of criminal jurisprudence, each and every person accused of a crime is entitled to a free and fair investigation and any interference in the investigation would eventually deprive a person of his right to a fair trial. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has laid down time and time again that investigation into a criminal offence must be free from obstructions or infirmities which may legitimately lead to prejudice against the Accused. The bias of the BJP against the Petitioner is a well known fact and has earlier manifested itself in the manner in which Tehelka was targeted, post its expose on corrupt defence deals in 2001 and was forced to shut down operations for over 3 years while many of its employees were implicated in false criminal cases as well.
- BECAUSE the Law Commission of India, in its 41st Report dated September 24, 1969 pointed out the necessity of introducing a provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure enabling the High Court and the Court of Sessions to grant “anticipatory bail”. It observed in para 39.9 of its report (Volume I) and the same is set out as under:
“The suggestion for directing the release of a person on bail prior to his arrest (commonly known as “anticipatory bail”) was carefully considered by us. Though there is a conflict of judicial opinion about the power of a court to grant anticipatory bail, the majority view is that there is no such power under the existing provisions of the Code. The necessity for granting anticipatory bail arises mainly because sometimes influential persons try to implicate their rivals in false cases for the purpose of disgracing them or for other purposes by getting them detained in jail for some days. In recent times, with the accentuation of political rivalry, this tendency is showing signs of steady increase. Apart from false cases, where there are reasonable grounds for holding that a person accused of an offence is not likely to abscond, or otherwise misuse his liberty while on bail, there seems no justification to require him first to submit to custody, remain in prison for some days and then apply for bail.”
- BECAUSE, the Statement of Objects and Reasons for introducing section 438 in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, itself clarifies that Section 438 was introduced as the need was felt to evolve a device by which an alleged accused is not compelled to face ignominy and disgrace at the instance of influential people who try to implicate their rivals in false cases.
- BECAUSE, the Applicant apprehends that the instant investigation being carried out by the Goa Police is patently tainted, unfair and is being used as an opportunity to satisfy the long standing grudge of the political executive against the works and ideological stand of the present Applicant. It is pertinent to note here that, the present FIR pertains to a false and concocted version of an encounter between two individuals which has been spun out as an allegation of sexual assault against the Applicant and it is clear that the same are being propelled as part of some malafide scheme. The examination of the CCTV footage of Hotel Hyatt, Goa for the days of 7th and 8th of November, 2013 will not only unveil the concoction but will also establish the innocence of the Applicant /Accused. The factum contained in the aforementioned CCTV footage is well within the knowledge of the present Investigating Agency; however, the Investigating Agency, in its endeavor to please its political masters is turning a blind eye to such footage in abrogation of its primary duty, i.e. to conduct a fair investigation and reveal the truth.
- BECAUSE, the mandates contained in Article 21 of the Constitution place the dignity of human life and liberty on the highest pedestal and the principle of an Accused being presumed innocent till proven guilty forms the basis of Indian criminal jurisprudence and therefore it is obligatory that the investigation should be judicious, fair, transparent and free from incumbencies or interference.
- That, apprehending arrest and the deprivation of his personal liberty in connection with the aforesaid FIR, the Applicant is constrained to move the present Application under section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to safeguard his liberty in terms of the stipulations contained therein.
- That, the Applicant is a person of well established credentials and is a law-abiding citizen with immense respect for the due process of law. The Applicant undertakes to join the investigation as and when required or called upon and shall extend his fullest cooperation to the authorities in the conduct of their ongoing investigation.
- That the Applicant is ready and willing to face the investigation in order to prove his innocence and is merely seeking a fair chance to defend himself effectively.
- That, the Applicant has deep roots in society and poses no flight risk and there can be no apprehension of him absconding from justice or tampering with evidence.
- That the Applicant is ready to comply with any condition imposed by this Hon’ble Court while granting him anticipatory bail and shall further comply with all the notices/ summons served on him and undertakes to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation. Under no circumstance has the Applicant interfered with the investigation, nor will he refrain at any point from providing any information/ documents as required by the investigating agencies.
- That, the present matter is not a case where custodial interrogation is required, as nothing is recovered from or at the instance of the Applicant.
- That no similar Application has been filed by the Applicant before this or any other Court and the same is bonafide and in the interest of justice.
- In view of the aforestated facts and circumstances, the Applicant has grave apprehension of arrest and hence is filing the instant Application for the following reliefs as prayed for:
It is, therefore, most respectfully and humbly prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to:
a) Grant anticipatory bail to the Applicant in FIR No. 27/ 2013 dated 22.11.2013, under Section 354 A, 376, 376 (2) (k) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 registered at Dona Paula or in the alternative grant ad-interim anticipatory bail (interim transit bail) to enable the applicant to approach the Appropriate Court for seeking reliefs in accordance with law.
b) Pass such other Order(s) as this Hon’ble Court deems fit and proper in the interest of justice, equity and good conscience.
[KARANJAWALA & CO.]
ADVOCATES FOR THE APPLICANT,
12TH FLOOR, HINDUSTAN TIMES HOUSE,
18-20, KASTURBA GANDHI MARG,
NEW DELHI – 110 001
PLACE: NEW DELHI