Tarun Tejpal, the editor of New Delhi-based Tehelka magazine, who has been in the eye of a storm over alleged sexual assault against a journalist colleague, has requested time to meet the police in the western Indian state of Goa.
In a note to the police on Thursday, Tejpal said he had received notice to appear for questioning only the previous night and he needed time until Saturday to present himself before them.
The police in Goa – where the alleged assaults were to have taken place – had summoned Tejpal to appear for questioning at 3pm.
The sexual assault case against Indian investigative journalist Tarun Tejpal is set to take a definitive turn with police in the western state of Goa summoning him for questioning.
Tejpal, a celebrity in the Indian media for his hard-hitting investigations, finds himself against a wall over the allegations. A Delhi court on Wednesday rejected his plea for an interim bail to forestall any arrest.
The complainant, a junior colleague, at the time of the alleged assault worked for the non-conformist Tehelka magazine of which Tejpal is a founder and editor-in-chief.
The assault is alleged to have happened during the Thinkfest event between November 8 and 10.
In a further setback to Tejpal, his long-standing associate and Tehelka magazine’s managing editor, Shoma Chaudhury, has resigned from her post.
Media reports quoting an e-mail Chaudhury sent early this morning to her colleagues said she did not want questions raised about her integrity to “tarnish the image of Tehelka“.
“There were only two days to act on the complaint of sexual assault before the story broke in the media. Post this, things have been misconstrued and have snowballed exponentially in the media, based on half-facts and selective leaks,” the reports quoting Chaudhury said.
Chaudhury, who bore the brunt of media questioning after the alleged assault, denied allegations of attempting a “cover-up”.
Embarassed by the sexual assault charge against Tejpal, several journalists have quit Tehekla in recent days.
The incident has caused an uproar since it became public a few days later. Tejpal, who initially appeared contrite and apologetic over what had purportedly happened, later changed track and claimed it was a consensual act.
He also stirred a hornet’s nest by claiming that he was being framed at the behest of Goa’s BJP government against which he had engineered an undercover journalistic operation a decade ago when it was in power at New Delhi.
The investigation had exposed corruption in arms deals and embarrassed the BJP and the government which it headed.