Police tighten noose on Tehelka employees

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 24, 2013 07:51 hrs

A special team of the Goa Police quizzed Tehelka's managing editor Shoma Chaudhury for more than nine hours in connection with allegations of sexual assault against the magazine's former Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal.

According to reports, the questioning of Chaudhury along with few other employees began at 4:30 pm on Saturday evening and ended at 2 am on Sunday.

The police recorded their statements and asked Chaudhury to hand over all related documents and emails to assist them in their investigation.

TV channels quoting sources reported that police officials have also demanded laptops and iPads from Chaudhury.

Following these, the Goa Police on Sunday began quizzing three employees of the magazine considered as witnesses to the case.

The cops are now trying to collect Tejpal´s emails in connection with the incident and the complaint of the girl to the magazine´s management, reports said.

After all these procedures, Tejpal is likely to be questioned.

Earlier on Saturday evening, the woman journalist who has accused Tejpal of sexual assault alleged that a member of his family had visited her mother's house on Friday night to ask her mother to protect him.

In a statement to the media, she said, "On the night of 22nd of November 2013, a member of Mr Tejpal´s immediate family came to my mother´s house in New Delhi, asking my mother to protect Mr Tejpal and demanded to know 1) who I was seeking legal help from and 2) what I "wanted" as the result of my complaint of sexual molestation by Mr Tejpal, that was made to the Tehelka management earlier this week."

She said the visit has laid immense pressure on her and she fears intimidation and harassment.

"This visit has placed tremendous emotional pressure on my family and I at an intensely traumatic time. I fear this may be the beginning of a period of further intimidation and harassment," her statement said.

"I call upon all persons connected to Mr. Tejpal and his associates to refrain from approaching me or my family members," the journalist said.

The Goa Police earlier said there was no CCTV camera in the lift in which Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted a woman journalist.

"There was no CCTV camera inside the lift. But we got footage from other cameras at the hotel and are examining those," Panaji Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) OP Mishra told reporters on Saturday.

Even as Tehelka led by Chaudhury continued to defend Tejpal apparently by requesting all to wait for the outcome of an internal inquiry and hearing of both the versions of the victim and the accused instead of a trial by media, the law of the land also is closing in on the journalist who earned fame for investigative reporting and big time exposes by Tehelka, including one on the attitude of policemen to victims of sexual assaults.

Reports said under the new stringent laws, what Tejpal allegedly committed during the "Think Fest" in Goa organized by Tehelka is tantamount to rape.

Media reports said he is seeking anticipatory bail in the case.

The Goa Police on Friday filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Tejpal for allegedly sexually assaulting the woman journalist.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reportedly sought a report from the Goa Police on the case.

Tejpal, late Wednesday evening rescued himself from his job for six months after the journalist complained to Chaudhury that he allegedly pulled her into a lift in the Goa resort and sexually assaulted her.

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