Panaji: Victory in the long drawn rape trial came with heartbreak for former editor-in-chief of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal. He rued the death of his lead defence lawyer Rajeev Gomes, who succumbed to Covid-19 May 13 this year. Tarun Tejpal was cleared of all rape charges by a local court. The verdict came seven-and-a-half years after Tarun Tejpal was accused of raping a junior colleage at a Goa resort in 2013.
In a written statement, Tejpal was all praise for his now deceased defence lawyer. He said Gomes was on the cusp of a brilliant career, before Covid-19 got him.
“Seldom does a long-fought for vindication arrive hand in hand with profound heartbreak. Lask week, my trial lawyer Rajiv Gomes, died of Covid-19. Dynamic and brilliant, at 47, he was on the brink of a scintillating career as a criminal lawyer,” Tejpal said in his statement.
“No person fought harder, and with greater skill, to reclaim my life and reputation. Rajiv used to say to me, ‘I enjoy money, but I don’t work for it. I believe God put me on earth to fight for the innocent’,” the former editor also said. Tejpal adding that he and his family owe a ‘profound and permanent debt’ to Gomes.
“No client can ever hope for a better lawyer than Rajiv. The ever-struggling wheel of justice has lost a solid spoke,” Tejpal added.
Gomes’ son Sean was also a part of Tejpal’s defence team. He said that it ‘would have been wonderful if he (Rajeev) had been here to claim victory’.
“My father has put in a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication into this case. The final written argument consisted of 600 plus pages which shows the amount of workload we put in this case. I was personally honoured to see one of India’s best lawyers at work. He worked really hard,” Sean said in tribute to his father.