Two important questions about the chargesheet against Tarun Tejpal
The 12 volume chargesheet against Tarun Tejpal seems to be a case of piling up enough trees to obfuscate the woods. I have not read the chargesheet and am going by media reports, which is why it took me so much time to ask – I had to be certain. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but these questions need to be asked.
- I hear that the CCTV footage video is not attached with the chargesheet. Considering that it is the most accurate neutral record of fact of at least part of the narrative Tarun Tejpal stands accused of, it is unbelievable that it is not provided. We know that the CCTV footage exists. We know that printouts from the footage frames are attached to the chargesheet. So the question begs to be asked. Why not provide the original video and let the scene speak for itself? This is a reasonable expectation, since Tarun Tejpal has consistently asked for the CCTV footage to be made public claiming that it will “vindicate” him. Under such circumstances, the only interpretation I can think of to not provide the video is because it will prove him right or at least dilute the charges against him and thus is not useful in the chargesheet.
- Tarun Tejpal’s custody has been extended time and again mostly because of fears of intimidation. The intimidation seems to have manifested right on time to attend bail hearings as well, as I have shown in another article. One intimidation was in Tiya making a concerned visit to the victim’s mother, which the victim thanked her for, only to call it intimidation on the next morning. Then you had the investigating officer accuse Tarun Tejpal of intimidating her – something that isn’t on record before the bail hearing. Tarun Tejpal denied intimidating the Investigating Officer in a letter, only to have a “replacement intimidation” alleged. Anonymous leaks of the victim’s identity through publicly available photos (the victim’s identity was widely known courtesy emails she herself circulated) were attributed to Tarun Tejpal without any evidence to back it up, while media websites publishing the victim’s photos openly are ignored. So, while the cyber crime departments will waste time trying to trace who sent publicly available photos in emails, and Tiya seems to have taken out the first allegation with the email, what remains is the second allegation of intimidation. None of the reports of the mega chargesheet mention the intimidation. Surely if Tarun Tejpal intimidated a police officer, that would be a charge against him? This mysterious accusation doesn’t seem to appear anywhere except a verbal allegation in court just in time for bail to be denied. Why was Tarun Tejpal not charged with intimidating a police officer if he did it? If he didn’t, what purpose did the accusation serve?
The recent developments give me a nasty feeling that an early prediction made during this case is going to happen. The victim did not file the case. The victim’s letters of complaint used the words sexual harassment and demanded an apology for misconduct (which is not really covered by law as far as I know). The media magnified the case, pointed out the rape, the government proceeded as per rape, an investigation aiming to present a watertight case followed and now the case has reached a point where the police don’t attach CCTV footage to the chargesheet.
My guess is that if the CCTV footage becomes known, the case collapses. It is a guess, based on the circus playing out. If that happens, the Goa government gets egg on their face, which will not look good before the Lok Sabha elections. So this will be dragged on till after the elections, if possible. Then, the inevitable happens. The case collapses or gets a far less sentence than advertised. BJP tells the girl they did what they could for her. Tells the world they were misled by media. Media turns and points to the girl.
Sum total of the issue is going to be that supposed women’s rights supporters will have ended up heavily supporting the exploitation of an alleged sexual harassment victim’s trauma for a media-politics circus that took her through the wringer and dropped her back exactly where she was and with questions about her honesty, because after all the hype, anything less than a conviction for rape is going to backfire on her – even if it hadn’t been her who hyped it. At that point media will forget that it is they who magnified her word. It won’t be media remembering that her demand for an apology was for misconduct.
Politicians will have had just another day at work. Media will move on to its next rescue for TRPs.
The victim will join the many masses who pass through media spotlight and earn channels crores of rupees and fare no better because of it.
This is the neo-patriarchy. Where women become entertainment, are not in control of their own agenda and are told that this attention and everyone else speaking for them and triggering loads of actions with consequences they will face alone when the dust settles…. is respect, support, feminism.