Rejecting allegations of showing undue interest in and interfering with the probe, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said the state government has a duty to do justice to the girl in the case of alleged sexual assault by Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal.
"I am the administrator of the state. As the chief minister of the state my job is to ensure justice to the girl...if what she says has legal support to ensure that justice is made out," he told a press conference in Panaji.
He denied there was any pressure from any quarters on the Goa police investigating the case of the alleged assault by Tejpal on a woman journalist of his office in an elevator in a Goa hotel during a THiNK Fest; organised by his magazine Tehelka earlier this month. "The state government does not intend to monitor (the case) except asking the police department for a speedy disposal of the case. I have told the police not to take any pressure from any quarters," he said.
Replying to questions about Tejpal's charge in his bail petition before the Delhi high court that the Bharatiya Janata Party government was targeting him, Parrikar said he (Tejpal) did not realise that when he held the function nor when he "confessed" or when he went on "sanyas". "So suddenly he has realised it is the BJP government," he said.
"How is the BJP involved in the crime or his emails? Did the BJP write them,” the Goa CM asked referring to the emails sent by the Tehelka editor to the journalist, which were leaked.
The chief minister said the investigating officer takes the final decision as to who should be called or not for questioning. "I don't have the time, patience or inclination to monitor the investigation of the case. It is for the investigating officer to conduct a fare probe. When the girl has come out openly and is cooperating with the police, it is the duty of our state government to give her justice," Parrikar said ruling out any vendetta.
He said that the girl has arrived in Goa after police requested her and is giving statement before the police.
Asked about BJP leader Sushma Swaraj's tweet this morning that a Union cabinet minister is "shielding" Tejpal, the chief minister said that she was free to comment but her views will not influence the state government. "It is the duty of the state government to ensure justice. Justice will be through legal procedures and not otherwise. So far the Goa police has not got any pressure. When a major crime is involved or committed and prima facie it is there can I not say it," he said.
He also said that in a bail petition an accused always makes lot of allegations. "I feel psychologically his guilt conscience made him take self sanyas for six months. It is a testimony to his guilt conscience. Probably he thought the issue will cool down after this."
Parrikar said that Tejpal's email (accepting guilt) was not written by BJP nor was his resignation or the apology and the SMSs he had sent. He said Tejpal's sudden suspicion toward the Goa police must have emerged out of the advice given by his advisers or he must have realised that he was getting sucked into deep trouble.
Tejpal went for anticipatory bail even before the Goa police summoned him.
On Tejpal's claim that his organisation's sting operation against Bangaru Laxman, who had to resign as the BJP president, was one of the reasons behind the Goa police action against him, the chief minister countered, "How does it make any difference in the crime committed by him, if he has committed. He himself has said he has resigned for six months. Prima facie a clear case is there. Does Tejpal accept that he is a Congress stooge? First let him explain this."
Parrikar said it would pain one to read what the girl has said in her complaint. "It is not easy for a girl to come out and say these things. This is the positive outcome of what happened on December 16 (gang rape of a girl in a bus in Delhi). Now girls are coming out very openly without fear." He said investigation will take its own course and since it was a sensitive case he appealed to the media to allow the law enforcement agencies to do proper investigation in a legal way.
Asked whether a fast track court will be set up to try this case, he said there was no need for a such a court in Goa where cases are disposed of quickly. Parrikar said that the victim has recorded a statement before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC in Goa.
Replying to another question, he said there were a number of cases in which the Supreme Court has said how investigation has to be conducted.
Parrikar said initially (Tehelka managing editor) Shoma Chaudhury had said she would not cooperate with the Goa police but she has now fully cooperated with the police. He said that the previous Congress government has given Rs 45 lakh for the THiNK Fest event. But the BJP government sanctioned only Rs 3 lakh as a tourism promotion initiative last year. This year the event was not funded despite a request.
"The logic was simple, why should government fund the event that can generate money on its own," he said.
Image: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar