The Delhi High Court Tuesday declined to give interim relief to Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal after the Goa Police opposed his plea for anticipatory bail in a case of alleged sexual assault on a junior woman colleague.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to give interim relief to Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal after the Goa Police opposed his plea for anticipatory bail in a case of alleged sexual assault on a junior woman colleague.
Goa Police on Tuesday said they had recorded the statement of the woman journalist, who has accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her twice at a five star resort in Panaji this month.
The woman has resigned her job in Tehelka after accusing the management of sheltering Tejpal.
In her statement to Goa Police, the victim reiterated the points she made to Tehelka’s managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, a police source told IANS.
“The statement is consistent with the complaint to Shoma and with the versions told to us by the three journalists (former employees of Tehelka) who the victim had confided in,” the official said.
Goa Police said they had alerted all immigration points as a precaution to prevent Tejpal from leaving India. Police have still not decided how and where to question Tejpal.
Tejpal, who had moved the Delhi High Court, did not get interim relief on his plea for anticipatory bail.
Justice Sunita Gupta asked the police to file a reply by Wednesday. Goa Police opposed the bail plea, saying the matter was a serious one.
Tejpal’s counsel K.T.S Tulsi and Geeta Luthra asked the court to pass an order granting him protection from arrest till police filed a reply.
Tejpal alleged that the Goa government was giving him a bad time because the BJP had a “long standing grudge” against him for the investigative journalism he did when the party ruled the country.
In 2001, Tejpal was behind a sting operation on leaders of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government that exposed corruption in defence deals.
It resulted in the resignations of then Bharatiya Janata Party president Bangaru Laxman and defence minister George Fernandes.
Tejpal said the woman stayed out late into the night during the ThinkFest conference in Goa where the alleged assault took place.
He said the encounter with her was “light hearted bantering”.
“The colleague referred above continued to party and was completely normal and friendly all throughout in Goa,” Tejpal said in his bail plea.
“She was at every party and social events through the conference and stayed out late into the night.”
He asked police to study the CCTV footage of Hotel Hyatt in Goa.
“On Nov 8, a further meeting took place between the two individuals but the same lasted for a few seconds and contained no incident which could constitute the commission of a cognisable offence,” Tejpal said.
There was not a single whisper from any corner including the complainant that any untoward incident had taken place, he said.
Tejpal called the allegation an afterthought that was reported after 10 days.
Tehelka Tuesday suffered a setback as Urvashi Butalia, the director of Zubaan Books whom it had named to head a panel to look into the allegations against Tejpal, made it known that she was not on the panel.
Tehelka later issued a statement saying it is trying to persuade lawyers and activists to stay on a panel to investigate charges against Tejpal.
Tehelka said it wrote to the complainant journalist asking her to suggest some names for the committee but she did not reply.
Tehelka said it had approached Butalia, child rights activist Inakshi Ganguly, actress Sharmila Tagore, Justice Leela Seth, journalist Prem Shankar Jha, historian Uma Chakravarti and lawyer Vrinda Grover to join the probe panel.