Tarun Tejpal says he is not guilty of raping a colleague, but the Tejelka magazine founder finds himself under a tightening police investigation.
Tejpal is accused by a female journalist of sexual assault, who said he assaulted her on two occasions during a media event organized by the publication in Goa. On Sunday police took statements from three of the woman’s friends, ones that she reportedly interacted with soon after the alleged incident at a hotel.
Lawyers for Tejpal said he is being framed, and that the accusation is being driven by “political forces.”
“It is a totally mendacious account of what happened, in its details, in its tonalities, in its very suggestion of non-consensus,” Tejpal said.
The accusation against Tarun Tejpal has drawn in Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhary, who the accuser said could corroborate facts about the incident. The woman reportedly sent an email to Chaudhary about the incident.
Tejpal this week announced that he was recusing himself from the magazine for six months to atone for an “unfortunate incident” brought on by “a bad lapse of judgment.” He offered an apology to the colleague, calling the incident “an awful misreading of the situation.”
Tejpal said he made the gesture as a way to acknowledge the complaint against him.
“I had no reason to do that,” he said. “I did so because Shoma Chaudhury felt I needed to make a clear gesture of atonement to appease the journalist’s sense of being aggrieved. At this point Shoma did not want to take into account my version of the events. She felt we needed to honor the journalist’s sense of being aggrieved. She felt we needed to honor the journalist’s complaint, right or wrong, with some gestures.”
Tehelka magazine noted on Twitter that Chaudhury was sharing all documents with police. Her mobile phone, tablet, and laptop were also screened by police.
There is worry for the woman accusing Tarun Tejpal of rape. The National Commission For Women approach police in Mumbai seeking protection for her after claims that her family was seeking pressure.