The Goa Police late Thursday obtained a non-bailable warrant from a court against Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexual assault against a junior colleague, after the Tehelka editor-in-chief failed to appear before them by the stipulated time of 3pm.
File photo of founder-editor of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal. (AFP Photo)
The police had moved the court for the warrant even as Tejpal informed them through a fax he would appear on Friday and extend "complete and full cooperation" in the probe into his alleged sexual assault on a colleague earlier in November.
Armed with the warrant, the police can arrest him any time now.
A request made by Tejpal about 12pm on Thursday to the investigating officer (IO) Sunita Sawant by fax and through a hard copy of the letter delivered by an advocate for an extension of the deadline was rejected by the police.
Before moving the court, deputy inspector general of police OP Mishra said the IO had not accepted Tejpal's request "in view of the seriousness of the crime and is proceeding in this case as per law empowered".
Asked whether securing a non-bailable warrant was an option before the police, he said, "These are logical steps that we are required to follow. I cannot divulge to you each and every step of investigation."
When pressed further whether arrest was being thought of, he said, "There should be no doubt that the next logical steps is that. The IO is proceeding as per logical and legal protocol."
Earlier, Tejpal told Goa police he will present himself before them on Friday.
"We have just been given to understand that our plea for extension till Saturday has been disallowed, as per the news reported on the TV channels. Accordingly, please note that I shall be reporting for investigation to you tomorrow itself and as always assure you of my full cooperation," Tejpal said.
In a day of dramatic developments, Tejpal also sought withdrawal of his petition seeking anticipatory bail from Delhi high court, saying he would move the appropriate court for appropriate remedy.
READ: CCTV grab shows Tejpal entering lift with woman journo: Police
In the meantime, sources said, the Tehelka journalist who Tejpal had allegedly sexually assaulted was still in Goa and was taken to the scene of the alleged crime, a five-star hotel in Bambolim, for the panchnama and to reconstruct what happened on November 7 and 8, the days the alleged incidents took place.
Hotel authorities refused to allow visitors into the hotel all day on Thursday.
The journalist's statement was recorded before a judicial magistrate in Goa in a day-long procedure on Wednesday.
VIDEO: Tejpal seeks more time, extension plea rejected
READ: Tarun Tejpal withdraws bail plea, Shoma resigns
More Tehelka as Shoma quits
Accused of attempting a cover-up after Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted a colleague in Goa, the magazine's managing editor, Shoma Chaudhury, resigned on Thursday.
Chaudhury put in her papers early this morning, but continued facing the heat through the day - first from protesters outside her home and then from the National Commission for Women (NCW).
A group of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists led by leader Vijay Jolly painted the word "accused" on the nameplate at her home in south Delhi's Saket and also tried to mob her.
The act was widely condemned even as the BJP quickly distanced itself from the protesters. Senior party leader Sushma Swaraj said their act was "not civilised".
The police booked Jolly and other BJP workers for obstruction, mischief, defacement of property and unlawful assembly.
"We have registered an FIR in this case and we are investigating the matter. We are also providing security to Chaudhury. We have also received a reference from NCW and we will reply to it tomorrow," said a senior Delhi police official.
Later in the day, Chaudhury apologised before the National Commission for Women (NCW) for "lapses".
"Chaudhury apologised for not having an anti-sexual harassment committee in the organisation. She also apologised for various lapses in handling the case," NCW member in-charge of Goa, Shamina Shafiq, said.
In her resignation letter, Chaudhury said she did not want questions raised about her integrity. "Over the past week, I have been accused of an attempt to cover-up… While I accept that I could have done many things differently and in a more measured way, I reject the allegations of a cover-up because in no way could the first actions that were taken be deemed suppression of any kind."
READ: Full text of Shoma Chaudhury’s resignation letter