Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury has accused a “lawyer friend” of “backstabbing” her by first advising her to get an unconditional apology from the magazine’s founder editor Tarun Tejpal, accused of sexually assaulting a junior colleague, and then switching sides.
Tejpal’s apology — where he confessed to his misconduct — is a crucial part of the evidence being collected by the Goa police to build their case against him.
At a meeting with the magazine’s editorial team on Monday, Chaudhury also offered to resign if the team wasn’t comfortable with her. “Shoma told us that after the victim first lodged the complaint she (Shoma) consulted this lawyer who she considered a friend and who had advised the magazine previously on a number of issues. It was on the advice of the lawyer that Chaudhary said she had demanded an apology from Tarun,” said a journalist present in the meeting who did not want to be identified.
Chaudhary told her colleagues that she was “backstabbed” by this particular friend who has now switched sides. After the news of the alleged sexual assault by Tejpal broke out, she has come under heavy criticism for the apology and the in-house probe route instead of seeking a proper police investigation into the complaint. HT repeatedly tried to reach Chaudhury but she did not respond.
Another editor quits
Unhappy over the way the magazine has responded to the incident, another Tehelka staffer, Rana Ayyub, an assistant editor with the magazine has resigned. This takes the tally of senior editors who have recently quit to six.