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Indian editor denies sex charges

Tarun Tejpal, editor of Tehelka magazine, is accused of raping and harassing female colleague.

Last updated: 18 Feb 2014 10:28
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On Monday Tejpal was charged with sexual harassment, outraging modesty and rape [File: Reuters]

An Indian court has deferred the bail plea by a leading Indian editor charged with raping a colleague, after he insisted that he is innocent.

Tarun Tejpal, the founder and editor of top investigative magazine Tehelka, has been in custody since his arrest in late November over the alleged incident in a hotel elevator in the western state of Goa.

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On Monday Tejpal was charged with a series of offences including sexual harassment, outraging modesty and rape, in one of the highest-profile cases since India toughened its rape laws last year.

"The charge sheet against me is out of political vendetta. I am innocent," the 50-year-old told reporters on Tuesday outside the court in Goa's capital Panaji, after his bail hearing was deferred until March 4 and he was taken back into custody.

"The truth is in the CCTV footage and it will be known to the world," he said, dressed in a white Indian kurta (tunic) for his court appearance, at which his family members were also present.

The woman, who has quit the magazine since the scandal broke and who cannot be named for legal reasons, has told police she was molested twice in the elevator during a magazine-sponsored event in the state.

The case made front-page news in India for days, at a time when sexual assault was under the spotlight following the fatal gang-rape of a student in Delhi in December 2012, which sparked widespread protests.

Police say their investigation gathered CCTV footage showing the pair entering the elevator - although there was no camera inside it - and other evidence including email and SMS exchanges between them.

Investigating officer Sunita Sawant filed a 2,684-page charge sheet before the court on Monday, saying there was enough evidence to prove the charges.

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