Indian media on trial in Tarun Tejpal case: Arun Jaitley

Claiming that the Indian media is on trial in Tarun Tejpal case, the BJP sought to know if the victim will be pressurised not to file a case as the Tehelka editor has connections with Congress.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 21, 2013, 22:42 PM IST

New Delhi: Claiming that the Indian media is on trial in Tarun Tejpal case, the BJP on Thursday sought to know if the victim will be pressurised not to file a case as the Tehelka editor has connections with Congress and wondered if "secular philandering" is to be handled differently.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the Indian media is on trial in this case as no legal action has been initiated against Tejpal "for what amounts to rape under the amended laws".

"The grievance of the citizens` movement after the gang-rape of Nirbhaya in Delhi was that sexual assaults are always under reported. Is this what is happening in this case? Just because the assailant has connections in Congress party, the nation is deprived of the sage advice of P Chidambram, the caustic comments of Kapil Sibal and the exaggerated tweets of Manish Tewari," Jaitley said.

He took further digs at Tewari who had tweeted against Narendra Modi from Goa during his trip there for the International Film Festival of India yesterday. Tejpal had allegedly molested the journalist in Goa ten days back.

"Manish Tewari was in Goa recently. He discovered Hitler there. What a pity that he could not discover a serial rapist in Goa. Additionally, we will all wait if the outrage in the media is proportionate to the offence. Or will journalistic pressures be brought on the young journalist to conceal the truth?" Jaitley said.

Tejpal, the founder editor of Tehelka, was behind the sting in 2001 in which then BJP president Bangaru Laxman was caught on camera accepting a bribe.

"May be secular philandering is to be dealt with a different standard. We all wait to see if the young lady testifies to the truth or not," Jaitley said.

Insisting that the Tejpal case is in a different league altogether, the BJP leader posed several questions.

"Why was the offence not allowed to be reported forthwith? Were any pressures brought on the victim not to lodge a complaint? How can an offence of rape be compromised by an atonement that the guilty will not attend office for six months?" Jaitley said.

Jaitley also questioned the manner in which Tehelka managing editor Shoma Choudhary has handled the issue.

"It is unheard of that a private treaty between Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Choudhary wipes out the penal consequence of rape. How can Shoma Choudhary so definitely say that the victim will not depose before the police? Is she not guilty of tampering with evidence in a rape case by pressuring a young employee to conceal the offence?" Jaitley said.

Referring to the victim`s complaint to Choudhary against Tejpal through an e-mail, the BJP leader said it makes out a clear case of rape.

"The definition of rape was amended by parliament subsequent to Justice Verma Committee`s recommendations. The ingredients of an offence of rape as amended by Parliament are squarely made out in the victims e-mail.”

Jaitley said while the media appears reluctant to demand legal action against Tejpal, the judiciary had promptly formed a three-judge committee to probe an intern`s charge that a retired Supreme Court judge had made improper advances towards her. The media, he pointed out, had reported this matter extensively.

The BJP also maintained the media has targeted the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat on the alleged illegal surveillance of a woman.

"A section of the media is outraged that the police in Gujarat was protecting or allegedly keeping an eye on a young lady even with her and her family`s consent," Jaitley said.