Indian investigative journalist Tarun Tejpal, facing charges of sexual assault, is cooling his heels in a police lock up in the western Goa state.
The high-profile editor-in-chief and founder of the feisty magazine Tehelka was on Sunday directed to six days in police custody by a court in the provincial capital Panaji.
Tejpal was subject to an intense questioning by top officials of the crime branch of the Goa police. Media reports said Tejpal broke down during the interrogation which lasted a few hours.
Questioning will continue on Monday as part of investigations into the allegations that he sexually assaulted a junior journalist colleague during a high-profile event, “Thinkfest” at Goa between November 8-10.
Allegations against Tejpal had taken the Indian media by storm as the journalist at the head of Tehelka had spearheaded several investigations into similar allegations against others and had built a reputation of championing the cause of the downtrodden and the marginalised.
At least eight of Tejpal’s senior colleagues including Managing Director Shoma Chaudhury resigned following the allegations.
Speculation is in fact rife over whether Tehelka itself can survive the actions of its founder.
While media and popular sympathy was with the journalist who was subject to the alleged assault, a few friends of Tejpal attempted to question the veracity of the charges.
Tejpal’s counsel attempted to put forth the argument that the girl appeared normal in the days after the assault and questioned why there was a delay in making the complaint, according to media reports from Panaji.
But the submission was in vain as the court would have none of it and sent Tejpal packing to jail on the grounds that the charges of assault was serious and what the girl did consequently was of no relevance.