Indian police in the state of Goa will present formal charges in court by February 5 against top investigative journalist Tarun Tejpal accused of sexually assaulting his colleague, an incident that stunned the country’s media.
A senior police officer was quoted by news agencies as saying that investigations into the allegations were almost over and the police would file the charge-sheet against Tejpal next week.
Tejpal, founder of the feisty magazine Tehelka, was arrested in November 2013 following complaints by a junior colleague that he had sexually assaulted her inside a lift at a top-end hotel in Goa state.
The colleague was there along with others from the magazine, led by Tejpal, to host a current affairs event.
Since his arrest, Tejpal has been locked up in a Goa jail pending investigations.
Reports, quoting police officials, said they were expected to file a “watertight” case against Tejpal.
Compounding the issue, police officer Sunita Sawant investigating the case was quoted by reports as having accused Tejpal of threatening and intimidating her during the course of her inquiry. Sawant had filed a complaint to this effect before a local Goa court which is dealing with the case.
Reacting to the accusation with dismay, Tejpal in a letter written to the police officer and copied to the Bombay high court said he was “shocked and distressed” to have found that Sawant had told the Goa court that she was threatened or intimidated by him.
Tejpal, reports said, claimed he had been fully cooperative and that Sawant’s move had increased his fear that he would not get a fair deal under her.
Sawant’s complaint before the court had resulted in bail being denied to Tejpal, reports said.
The police have already recorded several statements, including that of former Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury and Tejpal's daughter, along with the deposition of the victim in connection with the case.
The allegations against Tejpal rocked the media and in particular the magazine Tehelka which he had founded. Chaudhury resigned from her position following the allegations against Tejpal.