PANAJI: From two murder accused he shared the room on the first night in the police lock-up, arrested Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal had four local men held on charges of poaching frogs and turtles as his cell mates on the second night.
A narrow access through a tunnel leads to three cells – two for men and one for women. Tejpal is in a cell which is around 8 feet by 4 feet and five meters high and has an Indian toilet facility behind a small wall, just enough to cover the person who is using it.
“Tejpal looked tired and tense due to sleeplessness and may be due to intense questioning. His face looked a little swollen and eyes red,” police sources said.
His family members came this morning along with Crime Branch officials. “He was given Goan pav bhaji by the family members. Before that he had tea which is served for the inmates by police,” the sources stated.
“Tejpal did try to strike a conversation with the four inmates last night when he was brought to the lock up by the crime branch after interrogation.
“But all the four accused – Damian Colaco, Natalo Fernandes, Lorence Colaco and Santan Colaco – facing charges of poaching frogs and turtles, did not respond as they don’t understand Hindi,” the sources said. Panaji lock-up is shared by the Forest department which does not have its own prison facility.
Tejpal asked the four inmates for what crime are they behind bars but they refused to answer, staring at his face nervously, the sources said.
The journalist got up twice during the night to take water, they said.
Tejpal was arrested on Saturday for allegedly assaulting a woman journalist colleague of Tehelka.
His family had brought a mattress for him but the Crime Branch officials asked them to take it back, saying the court’s order does not permit it.
Since the lock-up does not have a fan, Tejpal has moved an application in the local court for getting one.
Judicial Magistrate Shama Joshi had yesterday ordered six days’ police custody of Tejpal after the prosecution sought his remand for 14 days.
Once they got him in their custody, Crime Branch officials took the Tehelka founder to their headquarters in Dona Paula and began questioning him on the alleged sexual assault committed twice by him on his colleague.
Public Prosecutor Frances Tavera had sought police custody of Tejpal, saying his custodial interrogation was needed because of the nature of the crime involved.
Tejpal’s lawyers opposed the demand for police custody, saying he was cooperating with the Crime Branch.
The woman journalist had accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her on November 7 and 8 in a lift in a five-star hotel in Goa last month.
He has been booked under Sections 354A (outraging the modesty of a woman) and 376 (2) (K) (custodial rape) of the IPC. -PTI