In a major setback and huge embarrassment to the Goa Government, the Founder and former Editor  of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, has been acquitted by the Sessions Court of all those charges of alleged rape leveled against him in November 2013.

It is no secret that the investigation into the Tarun Tejpal case was politically guided and surprisingly commenced with a suo motu F.I.R by the government which is unheard of in 60 years of Goa’s liberation. If only the police had shown such policing and investigative enthusiasm in every other case, Goa would have been a crime free state.

In BJP’s thirst for journalist Tejpal’s blood and to settle scores with him it ensured that he was jailed for over six months without bail after his arrest with the Crime Branch going overboard while the case was personally monitored by then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. The Crime Branch which cannot claim to have obtained any conviction in recent times demonstrated a very rare enthusiasm in this case by filing a 2,846 paged charge sheet against Tarun Tejpal divided in 12 volumes with statements of 152 witnesses. One also wonders why such a very huge and unprecedented police force had to be deployed at the Mapusa Court when the verdict was being pronounced. 

After Tarun Tejpal’s acquittal, without even perusing a copy of the judgment Chief Minister Pramod Sawant stated that an appeal would be filed which only shows how biased the government is. The skewed statement by the Chief Minister is contumacious to say the least. Only after a detailed perusing of the judgment and evaluating its content can the State’s legal team decide whether it merits an appeal.  And it is for the Courts of law and not the Chief Minister to condemn and convict anyone who violates the law.

The misuse of police has been endemic. But what we have witnessed from 2012 after BJP coming to power in Goa is astonishing. The misuse of the police force against the political opponents has been total and blatant with especially the Crime Branch and the Anti- Corruption wing used as tools to work overtime in targeting and silencing all political foes.

If Tarun Tejpal is guilty he should face the rigours of law but if his acquittal is upheld by the High Court, he would be within his rights to sue the Government and claim a couple of crores by way of compensation for this malicious and most foul prosecution which lasted for over seven years, while police officers who unduly danced to the political diktats must also be punished. 

On Jan 14th of the same year of the Tarun Tejpal case, a 7 year old Vasco girl was brutally raped in broad daylight in the toilet of her school while that evidence loaded case was hushed up the Goa Police. The law enforcement authorities cannot not pick and choose which case to chase and which to hush up. But unfortunately, that is the ground reality with the functioning of the police totally geared and controlled by the politicians in Power. Justice must always be available and be seen to be done to every citizen regardless of status.

It is vitally important in any democracy that there is no political intimidation or political interference in the justice system and judiciary. It diminishes the independence of the judiciary and, equally so public confidence in the judiciary. It can lead to negative conceptions about the judiciary that may make it difficult for people to respect the court system and the rule of law.

Fortunately, we have a Judiciary and Judges who are not afraid to exercise their responsibility by acting as guardians of the law, ensuring that laws are strictly adhered to and followed. It is imperative that judges and the judiciary continue to always be impartial and independent of all external pressures while upholding the Rule of Law at all times.

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