Tejpal last night announced that he was "recusing" from his job for six months after an email by the woman journalist of his magazine alleging sexual assault on her by him was made public. Centre treads cautiously (Agencies)
The woman journalist, who had reportedly complained to Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury that Tejpal had pulled her into a lift in a hotel in Goa about 10 days back during an event organized by it on two days to assault her, is now said to be seeking constitution of a committee by the magazine to go into the issue and take action.
Chaudhury, whose statements on the issue has attracted criticism from women activists and senior journalists who have demanded that law take its course in the incident, merely said on Thursday that she wanted time to act "correctly" on it.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar held a meeting with top civil and police officials when a preliminary probe was ordered into the incident.
While the police have asked for CCTV footage of the five star hotel where the incident took place, they have not ruled out the possibility of taking suo motu cognizance of the incident and proceed on that basis.
They are also said to be planning to take a statement from the woman journalist, the victim, based in Delhi.
Parikkar said that an inquiry has been initiated and "if we find any substance against Tejpal, a suo motu case can be registered against him since the incident happened in Goa".
"Only after police report, I would be able to speak more on the issue," he said.
DIG O P Mishra said police have asked for the complete footage of the days during which the incident had occurred. "Only after we get the footage of the tape we will be able to comment further," he said.
The Tehelka management came under attack over the way the victim's complaint was treated and Tejpal allowed to get away with a statement of recusal from office for six months.
Critics wondered how the magazine does not have even an internal committee to go into cases of sexual assault against women employees as mandated under the Supreme Court judgement in the Visakha case.
Facing a battery of questions from the media, Chaudhury said neither she nor Tejpal or Tehelka was a fugitive and that she needed to address all issues before "acting correctly" on the incident.
"I want to address the issues that have been raised, please give me a chance to do it in a decent way. I am from the fraternity and understand the need for transparency but I do need the time to act correctly on it.
(If) I can't I'll falter, the institution will falter. If you put this amount of pressure to get an immediate reaction on this. It is difficult situation. I will address all the real questions and issues that are raised. Do need the time to prioritize it," she said.
"The way these letters are leaked, I am not being able to act in a measured way I would like to."
Asking journalists to let her act "correctly", Chaudhary said and added that she understood their questions. "I am going to office to first speak to the office, that is my priority," She said.
When asked her response as a woman, she said that "Being a woman and a journalist are not two different things."
Again when confronted by reporters, Chaudhury said her priority was for the aggrieved journalist and "I am driven by what she wants.
"My understanding is she wanted an apology and it was given to her. He (Tejpal) stepped down. It was something she had not asked for. It was much more than what she wanted," she said.
Chaudhury said that they were in the process of setting up a three-member committee to go into the incident.
Asked by a reporter whether Tejpal will face law as it was a criminal case, she said "it is not a case, sir, unless you know more about it than I do."
The Centre on Thursday refused to be drawn into the issue of a woman journalist leveling allegations of ‘misconduct’ against Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal.
"It's a very sensitive issue. After scrutinizing every details regarding the Tarun Tejpal issue and if there is any reaction to be given in that issue then we will definitely give our reaction," Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters at IFFI venue in Goa.
"Since yesterday, we have been seeing this issue on TV, therefore after going into the deep detail, we will give our reaction," he added.
Accepting ‘misconduct’ against a woman journalist, Tejpal on Wednesday offered to recuse himself from the post and the office for six months.
In a letter to managing editor of Tehelka Shoma Chaudhary, Tejpal had said, "The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this.... A bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for."
"I have already unconditionally apologized for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further," he added.
Tejpal is a founder member of the Tehelka magazine.
Tejpal last night announced that he was "recusing" from his job for six months after an email by the woman journalist of his magazine alleging sexual assault on her by him was made public.
Centre treads cautiously