Home »  News »  India

Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal charged with rape; victim resigns

Thursday, 21 November 2013 - 11:22am IST Updated: Monday, 25 November 2013 - 2:10pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA Web Team
This decision came after a fellow journalist who works with the weekly magazine accused Tejpal of sexual assault.

Latest update:

* Monday, 25-11-2013: The journalist who alleged sexual assault by Tarun Tejpal resigns.

Tarun Tejpal moves court for interim anticipatory bail. Read here

* Sunday, 24-11-2013: The Goa police today started recording statements of three witnesses with whom the Tehelka woman journalist had reportedly spoken to after the alleged sexual assault on her by the magazine editor Tarun Tejpal These are three colleagues of the victim with whom she had interacted soon after the alleged assault happened at a Goa hotel around a fortnight ago. Read here

 

A Goa police team questioned Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury for several hours at her southeast Delhi office on Saturday in connection with the rape case filed against the magazine’s editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal by a junior colleague. Read here

 

Also read: If Tarun Tejpal goes, brand Tehelka will also go

* Saturday, 23-11-2013: Goa Police said that Tehelka news magazine editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal could be arrested soon in connection with a sexual harassment case. Read here

In what could be a setback for the sexual assault probe against Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, police said Saturday CCTV cameras were not installed in the hotel elevator where Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted his junior colleague twice. Read full story

*Friday, 22-11-2013: The Goa police has filed an FIR against Tarun Tejpal for sexually assaulting a junior colleague at a five-star resort in the state. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said attempt to rape charges have been pressed in the FIR against Tejpal.

Tejpal has been charged with rape, says he will aid probe. Read full story

*Thursday, 21-11-2013: Tehelka's Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury announced the setting up of a formal complaints committee, headed by feminist and author Urvashi Butalia.

"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," she stated.

"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."

* Hours after the news of Tehelka chief Tarun Tejpal sexually assaulting a female colleague broke, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley put up a post on his official Facebook page condemning the incident. He also questioned Tehelka Managing Director Shoma Chaudhury's hanling of the situation. Read post here

* Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury on Thursday said she would address all issues that have been raised regarding allegations that the founder of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, sexually assaulted a young woman journalist working for the magazine. Read here

*Tehelka's Facebook page announces: Pls note: Tarun Tejpal has not left the country.

Detailed report on what happened:
Chief Editor of Tehelka magazine shocked everyone on Wednesay by submitting his resignation for the next six months. This decision came after a fellow journalist who works with the weekly magazine accused Tejpal of sexual assault.

Managing editor Shoma Chaudhary received an email from the female journalist accusing Tejpal of sexually assaulting her twice in one week.

In her letter, she wrote, " From the very first moment, I wanted to call you, or find you and tell you what he had done to me., I had to process the fact that it was Tarun who molested me —my father's ex colleague and friend, ****'s dad, and someone I had so deeply respected and admired for so many years."

Reacting to this development, Tejpal in an e-mail to Chaudhury wrote, "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."

The female journalist has asked Tehelka to constitute an anti sexual harassment cell as per the Vishakha guidelines immediately to investigate this matter. She also asked for a written apology from Tejpal and wants the apology letter circulated through the organisation.

The National Commission for Women has said Mr Tejpal should face punishment if an FIR, or police complaint, is filed. "If the allegation is accepted, it is a cognisable offence," said Nirmala Samant, a member of the rights panel.

NCW member Nirmala Samant said that the commission would like to know from the victim as to what exactly happened.

Samant said the commission would want the victim to register a formal complaint, adding her identity will not be disclosed. This comes as the clamour for action against Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal is growing.

The incident has snowballed into a major controversy with the Goa police considering summoning him while questions have been raised over the way the weekly magazine has handled the issue.

The woman journalist, who had reportedly complained to Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury that Tejpal had pulled her into a lift in a hotel in Goa about 10 days back during an event organised by it on two days to assault her, is now said to be seeking constitution of a committee by the magazine to go into the issue and take action.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar held a meeting with top civil and police officials when a preliminary probe was ordered into the incident.

While the police have asked for CCTV footage of the five star hotel where the incident took place, they have not ruled out the possibility of taking suo motu cognizance of the incident and proceed on that basis.

They are also said to be planning to take a statement from the woman journalist, the victim, based in Delhi.

Twitter went abuzz after the news broke out:

Excerpts of alleged letter written by female journalist to Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhary
Dear Shoma
It is extremely painful for me to write this email to you - I have struggled with finding an easier way to say it, but there isn't one. The editor in chief of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal sexually assaulted me at Think on two occasions last week. From the very first moment, I wanted to call you, or find you and tell you what he had done to me -but given how absorbed you were at Think; preparing for and conducting sessions, and the fact that it was impossible for the two of us to get even a minute alone together, I could not...

Both times, I returned to my room in a completely distraught condition, trembling and crying...

...As of Saturday evening, he sent me text messages insinuating that I misconstrued "a drunken banter". That is not what happened...

...I hope you will also understand how traumatic and terrifying it has been for me to report this to you —and yet how critical it is that Tehelka constitute an anti sexual harassment cell as per the Vishakha guidelines immediately, to investigate this matter. At the very least, I will need a written apology from Mr Tejpal and an acknowledgement of the same to be circulated through the organization. It cannot be considered acceptable for him to treat a female employee in this way.

Tarun Tejpal's letter to Shoma Chaudhary
My dear Shoma, 
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. Tehelka has been born and built, day on day, with my blood, toil, tears and sweat, and that of many others, against near-insurmountable odds. It has lived for and fought the big battles of our time, always on the side of the oppressed and the wronged, always on the side of equity and justice. Its voice has travelled the world and changed policy and perceptions. It has been a beacon for those who would do the right thing.

Through bad, and worse, times I have protected Tehelka and its journalists from the inevitable demands of power and corporations. I have always allowed every journalist's sense of the right to flower and express itself. No one has ever been asked to do what they don't believe in. 

I have always held that Tehelka the institution, and its work, have always been infinitely more important than any of us individuals. It is tragic, therefore, that in a lapse of judgment I have hurt our own high principles. 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 rescue myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months. 

You have always been stellar, Shoma, and even as I apologise to you and all my other colleagues, for this unfortunate incident, I leave Tehelka in your more than capable and safe hands.

In apology,
Tarun

With Agency inputs


Jump to comments

RELATED