Facing flack against alleged molestation of scribe, Tehelka's Tarun Tejpal steps down

Tarun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka, the magazine born out of a political sting operation, has stepped down for six month after being accused of allegedly sexually assaulted a woman journalist at the ThinkFest event in Goa that concluded earlier this month.

Tejpal had in a letter to Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhary declared that he had "recused" himself for six months from office as "penance that lacerates me" following accusations of a young woman journalist, of sexual assault over two days in Goa earlier this month.

NDTV quoted the journalist, who levelled accusations against Tejpal in a letter to Chaudhary this week, that she was "deeply disappointed" by Tehelka's response.

NDTV reported citing a source close to the journalist that while she was pleading with Tejpal to stop assaulting her, the journalist told him that he was her father's age.

Faced with criticism that Tehelka's response to allegations of sexual assault against its editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal had been grossly insufficient, Chaudhary said she was setting up a committee by the evening to address the concerns of the ''aggrieved journalist.''

A number of activists had asked why none from Tehelka had filed a police case on the basis of the allegations of the young woman.

Chaudhary said, Tejpal had stepped down, something more than the assaulted journalist had asked for - action has already been taken with the stepping down of the editor and an apology from him. What more do you want? she asked.

In Goa, chief minister Manohar Parrikar said that he has sought a preliminary enquiry into the matter and would await the findings of the police.

''High profile cases need high profile action,'' Parrikar said. ''We will wait for the report, once we get it, we will consider further actionů that is the status as of now,'' Parrikar told reporters in his office.

In fact, the chief minister said, the state government is required to investigate any criminal offence that has taken place within the jurisdiction of Goa, irrespective of whether there is a complaint or not.

He further said that the Goa Commission for Women could take up the case suo moto.

NCW members pointed out that Supreme Court guidelines required all companies to have a committee that could receive and investigate complaints of sexual harassment.

The Goa police have been ordered to probe the allegations and the five-star hotel where the event happened had been ordered to preserve footage from security cameras.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar told NDTV that if the allegations were found to be true, the police would register a case. He said from what he saw, the crime had taken place.