Tehelka sex scandal: Tarun Tejpal charged with rape

Tarun Tejpal has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior colleague twice in a hotel elevator

NEW DELHI: The Goa Crime Branch has booked for rape Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal who is accused of sexually assaulting a junior colleague in a Goa hotel earlier this month.

The suo moto first information report was filed by the crime branch officials under sections 354 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, which deal, respectively, with criminal use of force on a woman and rape, a police official said.

"The Crime Branch is investigating the case. We are also in the process of sending a team to Delhi," Director General of Police (DGP) Kishen Kumar said.

Will cooperate with police in probe: Tejpal

Meanwhile, Breaking his silence for the first time, Tarun Tejpal Friday promised "full cooperation" in the police probe.

"I offer my fullest cooperation to the police and all other authorities, and look to presenting all the facts of this incident to it," Tejpal, a well known journalist whose magazine is known for its investigative brand of journalism, said in a statement.

"I also urge the committee and the police to obtain, examine and release the CCTV footage so that the accurate version of events stands clearly revealed.

"In this case this anguish was accentuated by the fact that very many intimate people, professional and personal, were involved. For four days, as demanded by Shoma Chaudhury, the managing editor, and the recipient of the complaint, I have tried to do what was honorably demanded of me.

"On Tuesday I issued an apology for the alleged misconduct, as desired by the journalist through Shoma Chaudhury. On Wednesday I stepped down from the editorship of Tehelka and removed myself from the office premises. On Thursday I learnt of the formation of the complaints committee," he added.

Won't help Goa police, says Shoma Choudhury

Earlier, facing nationwide outrage over the sexual assault case, the magazine's managing editor Shoma Chaudhury said that she was not defending anybody and a committee has been set up to look into the charges, but she will not help the Goa police with the investigation.

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Shoma said: 'My sole and primary impulse has been to address the sense of injury and honour the girl's integrity. She was looking for an institutional response, I wanted to honour that regardless of the versions involved.'

Amidst mounting pressure, Chaudhury today said that Tarun Tejpal had told her a completely different version when she confronted him but due to her allegiance to women's right, she decided to override his version and asked him to tender an unconditional apology to the victim.

She also said that it was also decided that Tarun Tejpal would step down because even if it was consensual, it was a misuse of his right.

Refuting charges of a cover-up, Chaudhury said she acted in the girl's interest and added that the apology was accepted by the victim.

She also said that she will not help the Goa police in their investigation.

On Thursday, Tehelka said it had constituted a panel, led by eminent feminist Urvashi Butalia, to look into charges of sexual harassment against its editor.

"In furtherance to Tehelka's acceptance of Tarun Tejpal's recusal from editorship Nov 20, which followed the official unconditional apology he had mailed to the journalist concerned Nov 19, Tehelka has now constituted a formal complaints committee, in accordance with Vishaka guidelines, to be presided over by Urvashi Butalia, eminent feminist and publisher, to investigate the matter," the magazine's managing editor Shoma Chowdhary said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Chaudhury sent an email to employees, containing an appended letter from Tejpal, Tehelka's founder and editor-in-chief.

In an email to Chaudhary earlier, Tejpal said: "A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, has led to an unfortunate incident that is against all we believe in and fight for."

"I have already unconditionally apologised for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months," he said.

In her email to the employees, Chaudhary said: "There was an incident which has been dealt with internally. An unconditional apology was extended by Tarun. The journalist concerned was satisfied with the action taken. Tarun voluntarily recusing himself as editor is in keeping with the standards we have espoused as an institution and want to live by."

NCW asks Goa police to file FIR against Tejpal

The National Commission for Women Friday asked Goa Police to file a first information report (FIR) against Tehelka's editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal for allegedly molesting a woman journalist in a hotel.

"We are in the process of writing to Goa Police to file an FIR against him (Tejpal). We have gone through the CCTV footage of the hotel and on its basis as well as Tejpal's confession, police need to act as per law," NCW member Shamina Shafiq told Times Now channel.