Prominent Indian journalist Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexual assault by a colleague, has been briefly arrested at an airport in westen Goa state before being granted a new interim bail until Saturday morning.
A young female journalist has accused Tejpal, the editor-in-chief of investigative magazine ‘Tehelka‘, of assaulting her twice in a hotel elevator during a conference in Goa this month.
On Friday, a Goa court granted Tejpal an interim bail until Saturday 10 am local time, the local NDTV reported.
He had earlier been granted a few hours interim bail which ended at 2.30pm local time. Tejpal was at Goa’s Dabolim airport at around 5.10 pm when the brief arrest was made.
Tejpal has flip-flopped in his statements about the incident. He apologised but later said the accusations were false.
The powerful journalist was asked to appear before the investigating officer on Thursday for interrogation. But, after failing to do so, a court in Goa asked Tejpal to appear by 2:30 pm on Friday.
On Thursday night, police officials conducted a search of Tejpal’s residence in New Delhi.
Shoma Chaudhury, the managing editor of Tehelka, to whom the victim had emailed an account of the incident, stepped down from her position on Thursday. The victim had earlier not filed a case with the Goa police.
The police had filed an FIR (First Information Report) without any statement from the victim but she later filed a report.
Tejpal was listed as one of Asia’s 50 most powerful communicators in 2001 by Asiaweek, while the Guardian newspaper ranked him among the 20 who constitute India’s new elite in 2007.
Business Week rated him one of the 50 most powerful Indians.
The incident has triggered a media debate about silence over the harassment of women at their places of work, underlining a heightened awareness about rising cases of sexual violence in India after the fatal gang rape of a woman in Delhi a year ago.
India’s working women often face sexual harassment from colleagues, managers or employers, yet few report these cases, fearful of losing their jobs or facing persecution simply for speaking out, gender rights activists say.