Closing in on Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, who failed to get any immediate relief on his anticipatory bail petition in the Delhi high court, the Goa police summoned him to appear before it by 3 pm on Thursday in the probe into the sexual assault allegation against him.
The Goa police decision raises the possibility of Tejpal's arrest but the Deputy Inspector General of Police O P Mishra refused to discuss their strategy if he does not turn up before the investigating officer.
The police may issue a non-bailable warrant against Tejpal if he does not appear before the IO or prolong the questioning till the Delhi high court comes out with its order on his anticipatory bail plea on Friday, experts say.
"The investigating officer is summoning the person (Tarun Tejpal) involved in it (case) asking him to appear before the IO by around 3 pm tomorrow (on Thuirsday)," Mishra told reporters shortly after the Delhi high court reserved its order on Tejpal's bail application for November 29.
The police move also came on a day the victim, a woman journalist of Tehelka, who was allegedly sexually assaulted in a lift in a five-star hotel in Goa earlier this month, arrived in Panaji and recorded her statement under Section 164 of CrPC before a local court.
The statement of the victim under section 164 CrPC is being recorded in a local court in Panaji. The process is still on, said Mishra.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday dismissed Tejpal's accusations that the BJP government in the state was pursuing vendetta against him because of the sting operation conducted by his organisation that unseated the party President Bangaru Laxman and other issues.
He said the state government has a duty to do justice to the victim.
"I am the administrator of the state. As 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," Parrikar 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 the woman journalist.
"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 BJP 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.
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.
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.
Image: Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal has stepped aside for six months after a colleague accused him of sexual assault