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Tehelka sexual assault: Goa Police file rape case against Tarun Tejpal

Tehelka magazine managing editor Shoma Chaudhury on Friday said that Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a woman scribe, has not run away and is in the country.



Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In more trouble for Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a woman journalist, Goa Police on Friday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against him.

"An FIR has been filed for rape and outraging modesty (against Tejpal). This is one part of the process of investigation and law will take its course," DGP Kishan Kumar said after the Goa Police filed an FIR in the case.

The charges relate to section 376 (rape) and 344 (outraging modesty) of IPC, he said.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said police have complete authority to investigate the sexual assault case against Tejpal and they should not worry about the stature of the person involved.

"I have given complete authority to the police to investigate the case. I have told them don`t worry whether the person is low profile or high profile. Stature does not count. What counts is the crime. You go by what is correct in law," the Chief Minister told the police.

Earlier in the day, DIG OP Mishra said that a preliminary inquiry has begun.

DIG OP Mishra said that Goa Police has begun the inquiry and asked for the CCTV footage from the hotel to examine the sequence of events.

The DIG said that the police are attempting to contact the alleged victim and her privacy will be respected.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who conferred with top police officials yesterday, ordered a preliminary probe after prima facie opinion that there seems to be substance in the letter written by the victim to her office.

Also Read: Tarun Tejpal agrees to cooperate in probe

Tarun has not fled: Tehelka managing editor

Tehelka magazine managing editor Shoma Chaudhury today said that Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a woman scribe, has not run away and is in the country.

Speaking to reporters, Chaudhury said that the woman journalist had asked for an apology from Tejpal, which was given to her. “Tarun has even stepped down for six months,” Chaudhury said.

Also Read: Home Ministry seeks report from Goa govt

“A committee has been formed in accordance to Vishakha guidelines to enquire into the allegations and Tejpal would certainly reply to the queries of the body,” Chaudhury said.

“I am not here to judge or defend anyone, both versions of Tarun`s and the girl will be before the committee, which would decide on the matter,” she added.

“It has been three days and Tarun has apologised and stepped down. I myself have formed a committee to look into the matter, then where is the delay,” Chaudhury said while responding to a query.

Earlier, the Tehelka magazine managing editor had issued a statement, which states:

"In furtherance to Tehelka`s acceptance of Tarun Tejpal`s recusal from editorship of tehelka on November 20th, which followed the official unconditional apology he had mailed to the journalist concerned on November 19th, Tehelka has now constituted a formal complaints committee, in accordance to Vishaka guidelines, to be presided over by Urvashi Butalia, eminent feminist and publisher, to investigate the matter. The other members of the committee will be announced shortly."

"In addition to this, Tehelka will ensure setting up a formal complaints committee, according to section 4 of the Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013), an institutional mechanism that was sorely missing in Tehelka."

Also Read: Sexual assault case: `Enough evidence to lodge FIR against Tarun Tejpal`

NCW asks Goa Police to file FIR against Tejpal

In more trouble for Tejpal, National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to Goa police to file an FIR in the sexual assault case against the Tehelka magazine editor-in-chief.

The NCW said on Friday that it has got in touch with the alleged victim and a team is scheduled to meet the woman scribe in Mumbai today.

This comes after a huge controversy erupted after Tejpal accepted "misconduct" against a woman journalist. Goa government yesterday ordered a probe into the alleged sexual assault by the Tehelka editor on a woman journalist colleague.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday accused the Congress of protecting Tehelka magazine editor-in-chief and sought to know if the victim will be pressurised not to file a case as Tarun Tejpal, who has connections with the ruling party and wondered if "secular philandering" is to be handled differently.

"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 advise of P Chidambram, the caustic comments of Kapil Sibal and the exaggerated tweets of Manish Tiwari," the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha 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.

Congress condemned the alleged sexual assault of a young woman and said action should be initiated against anyone found guilty of such an offence, irrespective of one`s position.

"On the issue of sexual assault, the Congress party`s stand is clear that anyone found guilty of such an offence, action should be initiated against him...This is condemnable. It should be condemned," party spokesperson Meem Afzal said.

Also Read: Tehelka sets up committee to probe

Media condemns Tehelka sexual assault case

The Indian media yesterday strongly condemned the alleged sexual assault on a woman journalist by Tarun Tejpal.

Terming the allegations against Tejpal as "shocking and shameful", Editors` Guild of India said in a statement: "Such incidents anywhere are condemnable in the strongest terms but the Guild is particularly saddened that they should engulf a media organisation."

"The conduct that has been alleged would constitute grave sexual assault at the very least taking advantage of the authority and power of the perpetrator within the media organisation.

Asserting that it was "horrified" to hear of the incident, the Press Club of India said: "This is a slur on the name of Indian journalism which has many shortcomings but making the workplace unsafe for women was not supposed to be one of them."

Tejpal steps aside as Tehelka editor for 6 months

Tejpal has offered to recuse himself from the editor’s post and the office for six months.

In a letter to managing editor of Tehelka Shoma Chaudhary, Tejpal said, "The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this.... A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for."

"I have already unconditionally apologised for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further," he added.

Tejpal is a founder member of the Tehelka magazine.

"Because it involves Tehelka, and a sterling shared legacy, I feel atonement cannot be just words. I must do the penance that lacerates me. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months," he said in his letter.

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