statesman news service
Panaji/New Delhi, 22
Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal today faced possible arrest after Goa police booked him on rape charge following an allegation by a journalist colleague that he sexually assaulted her during an event a fortnight ago.
A special investigating team of the Crime Branch police will be in Delhi for questioning Tejpal and police are not ruling out arrest.
“An FIR has been filed on charges of rape and outraging of modesty (against Tejpal). This is one part of the process of investigation and law will take its course,” DGP Kishan Kumar said in Panaji.
The charges relate to Sections 376 (rape), 376 (2) (rape by a person of a woman in his custody taking advantage of his official position) and 354 (outraging modesty) of IPC, he said.
Conviction under Section 376 of IPC entails a maximum of life term in jail.
Asked whether Tejpal would be arrested, the DGP said, “As I told you this is a matter of investigation. Let us leave it to Investigating Officers. It is a process under law which has logical consequences. I cannot say how the IO will do.”
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar made it clear that his government will show “no tolerance for this type of crime and we should crackdown on such high-profile crimes”.
He said Goa police has not received any response from Tehelka to the letter sent to it seeking details of the alleged incident.
“I am not saying someone is guilty but the girl’s email (to her office) is explicit,” he said and commended her for showing courage to report the incident.While Tejpal issued a statement offering to extend the “fullest cooperation” to the police and all other authorities, the magazine’s Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury said they would not go to police on the issue as it was for the victim to decide on it.
Facing allegations that Tehelka was indulging in a cover-up, Chaudhury defended her actions in the matter saying she had confronted Tejpal about the incident “very very angrily”, after which he stepped down from his post for six months and apologised to the victim.
“The right to go to police is hers (victim’s). I am not going to the police on my own,” she said, adding she will cooperate in the probe as long as she is in the post. “If it is hard for me to cooperate, then I will step down,” Chaudhury said.
She came under fresh attack when she referred to her conversation with Tejpal who has a “different version” of the incident which she claimed to have overruled when getting his apology.