Tehelka controversy: Tarun Tejpal faces arrest, Shoma Chaudhury quits

Tightening the screws against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who is accused of sexual assault against a woman journalist, Goa police moved a court for non-bailable arrest warrant.

Zee Media Bureau

Panaji: Tightening the screws against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman journalist colleague, Goa police on Thursday moved a court for issuance of non-bailable arrest warrant after he failed to appear before the crime branch.

The court is expected to give its order on the NBW on Friday.

Tejpal in the evening informed Goa Police that he will appear before them Friday, after officials made it clear that they were ready to arrest him for failing to appear before them by 3 pm.

After first seeking two days more to reach Goa, Tejpal made a U-turn in the evening and informed the police by fax that he would reach Panaji Friday, his lawyer Sandeep Kapur, said.

The dramatic development came on a day the Tehelka`s managing editor, Shoma Chaudhury, resigned from the news magazine after insisting that she had not tried to cover up Tejpal`s alleged crime.

Tejpal also withdrew Thursday his anticipatory bail application filed in the Delhi High Court and also skipped a 3 pm deadline by which he had to report to the Goa Police officer probing the case in Panaji.

Also Read: Tehelka controversy: As it unfolded on Thursday

Goa police then rejected Tarun Tejpal`s request for time till Saturday to appear before it and did not rule out his arrest after he failed to present himself before the deadline.

"The IO (investigating officer) has not accepted the request for extension taking into account the seriousness of the crime," Goa`s Deputy Inspector General of Police O.P. Mishra said.

"She is proceeding as per law," Mishra said, adding that Tejpal had formally sought extension till Saturday through a fax sent from New Delhi.

This was before Tejpal decided to go to Goa Friday.

Asked earlier if Tejpal would be arrested, Mishra said it could be the "next logical step".

Informed sources said a special police team had been created, and it would travel to New Delhi, if needed, to arrest Tejpal, who has accused the Goa government of acting with malice.

The first fax sent by Tejpal seeking extension of two days did pledge his "full cooperation" to the police.

Mishra rejected Tejpal`s contention that he did not have adequate time to leave for Goa from Delhi.

"When the summons were issued, the journey time from Delhi to Goa was taken into account," Mishra said. He refused to comment if a non-bailable warrant had been issued against Tejpal.

In the Delhi High Court, Tejpal`s counsel claimed that he would "approach the appropriate court for appropriate remedy".

"We told the judge that we are withdrawing it with a liberty to approach appropriate court for appropriate remedy, which also includes anticipatory bail, and the court allowed our plea," advocate Sandeep Kapur said.

In a related development, managing editor Chaudhury suddenly resigned Thursday. This coincided with a demonstration outside her New Delhi house by Bharatiya Janata Party supporters.

The BJP later distanced itself from the noisy protest by a party leader, Vijay Jolly.

Chaudhury said in a statement that she had "taken a series of actions in response to this (junior colleague`s) complaint".

She said: "To my mind, I acted on instant outrage and solidarity for our colleague as a woman and co-worker.

"I could have done many things differently and in a more measured way. I reject the allegations of a cover up because in no way could the first actions that were taken be deemed suppression of any kind."

Chaudhary`s resignation came 10 days after a woman journalist with the news magazine first wrote to her and accused Tejpal of sexual assault at a luxury hotel in Goa.