Sexual assault: Tarun Tejpal 'could be arrested soon'; No CCTV camera in hotel elevator, say Goa police

Goa police in Delhi to probe sexual assault case; Tehelka's Shoma shares all documents with cops.

Panaji: Goa Police on Saturday said that Tehelka news magazine editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal could be arrested soon in connection with a sexual harassment case.

Police said that Tejpal's letter of apology emailed to the young woman journalist whom he allegedly sexually assaulted, had provided them with new evidence.

A team of the Crime Branch of Goa Police reached Delhi to investigate Tejpal and Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury. Latest reports said that Shoma Chaudhury shared all the related documnets with the police.

TV channels reported quoting sources that the Goa police asked for Shoma's laptop and iPad.

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Goa's Director General of Police (DGP) Kishan Kumar said in Panaji: "The Goa Police team is doing its job. The investigation is a complicated process. It is not right to reveal anything at this moment. We are putting in all efforts to reach a conclusion on the case. The victim is very important to us. We will talk to her at the right time."

Meanwhile, Goa Police also added that they have been told that there are no CCTV cameras in the elevator of the hotel where the woman journalist of Tehelka magazine was allegedly sexually assaulted by her editor Tarun Tejpal.

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"The hotel authorities have told us that they have no specific cameras in the elevator. We are getting a detailed layout of cameras (from other areas) from the hotel and make a detailed analysis," DIG of Police O.P. Mishra told reporters.

He said CCTV footage has been formally received from the hotel but could not be immediately examined because of technical and other logistics for analysing and they were trying to get in touch with agencies for the purpose.

The young woman journalist, who claims Tejpal sexually assaulted her in Goa earlier this month, said she will cooperate with the police investigation. "I will not obstruct due process in any way," she said.

However, DIG Mishra refused to comment on the arrest of Tejpal against whom the first information report has been filed booking him on rape and other charges.

"I would not like to comment anything on arrest of Tejpal," Mishra said, adding that the police are following the standard procedures of investigations in this case. Mishra said that they have received CCTV footage of the hotel during the days when incident have alleged to have happened.

Responding to a question whether police have stumbled on any evidence, he said that the veracity of the case is being established. The DIG said that the police have already communicated to Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury asking for the detailed documents from her.

"By the time our team left from here, we had not received any communication from her," he said.

Shoma Chaudhury had earlier in the day disagreed with the suggestion or allegation that she was avoiding going to the police to depose on the matter.

While initially maintaining that it was not her place to go to the police, and that it was the young woman's journalist's right to decide how to proceed on the case, Chaudhury said: "The information to the media is wrong. I have sent a mail to the police. There is a lot of wrong information that is floating around. I cannot possibly be giving any evidence. I am cooperating with the Delhi Police."

Replying to yet another question on the statement of the girl that she is ready to cooperate with the police, Mishra said that the statement is welcomed and we will provide all the cooperation for her if she wants to depose.

In Vadodara, Congress leader and jailed actor Sunil Dutt's sister, Priya Dutt, said: "The Congress has taken a strong stand on the issue of protection of women. This ( Tehelka issue) should not be made a political issue. We all should come together and fight against harassment of women in workplaces. It could be anybody. The investigation must happen.

BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said: "Tarun Tejpal is nothing but a surrogate of the Congress Party."

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that he will ensure that the police does not come under the influence of Mr Tejpal's profile.

"I told the police that they should not bother about the stature of a person in deciding this matter. They should be treating a criminal as a criminal," he said.

Tejpal has suggested that the young journalist's version of events is not entirely accurate.

But in an email to her sent on Tuesday, he admitted to a 'shameful lapse of judgement that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you on two occasions on 7 November and 8 November 2013, despite your clear reluctance that you did not want such attention from me'.

The journalist has not filed a police complaint. The Goa Police was instructed by the state government to investigate her allegations, which were emailed by her to Ms Chaudhury on Monday. That email was leaked to the press.

The FIR against Tejpal lists rape by a person in a position of authority over the woman, an offence that carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.

( Source : pti/ani )
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