Goa Police to probe sexual misconduct allegations against Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal

published on November 21, 2013
PANAJI: Goa Police will conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct levelled by a journalist against editor-in-chief of Tehelka newsweekly Tarun Tejpal, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday.

Parrikar told IANS that if the preliminary inquiry reveals that the incident took place in Goa, formal charges would be filed.

“I have asked the police to conduct a preliminary enquiry. Right now we do not have an clear indication if the incident happened in Goa,” Parrikar said.

“If the inquiry reveals that the incident took place here, then we will proceed further as per the law,” the chief minister said.

Tejpal has been accused of sexual misconduct by a junior colleague at Tehelka during a high-profile conference held in Goa earlier this month.

Tejpal, who has not denied the charges, stepped down as the editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper, calling it “atonement” for his actions.

BJP says it is tantamount to rape

NEW DELHI: The BJP said that the molestation act that Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal is accused of is tantamount to rape according to law and its criminality can’t be shielded, IANS reported.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi, addressing a press conference a day after Tejpal stepped down for six months over the incident, said : “In today’s amended definition, the doing of Tarun Tejpal is called rape.”

“Sexual harassment is what has happened to the innocent girl.”

Lekhi termed the “atonement” letter of Tejpal announcing he was recusing himself for six months as “immensely shocking”.

“It states that six-months paid holiday has been granted to the editor-in-chief and the criminal action has been covered already by the sexual harassment committee of the organization… Criminality cannot be shielded in this action (stepping down for six months),” she said.

Lekhi also said she had learnt that Tehelka does not have a policy of preventing the sexual harassment of woman at the work place. “I want to know who are the members of the sexual harassment committee and if there are any outsiders in the committee,” she asked.

She also demanded that both the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) need to probe the case

Tejpal, in an email to Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhary said Wednesday: “A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that is 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. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months.”

Lekhi also said that the police needed to be involved to probe the incident “instead of keeping it confined to the walls of the organization”.

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