The Tehelka sexual assault case has taken an uglier line in the past few days with Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal sharpening his attack on the woman journalist, terming her charge a lie.
In his anticipatory bail plea before the Delhi high court, to be heard on Wednesday, Tejpal said his junior colleague’s complaint was an “afterthought” and “clearly motivated”.
“There was not a single whisper from any corner, including the above mentioned lady, that any alleged untoward occurrence took place during the Think fest,” the 50-year-old, booked for rape by the Goa Police, said.
He claimed the young woman “continued to party and was completely normal and friendly all through her stay in Goa”. He also questioned the delay of over 10 days in her filing a complaint.
The contents of the bail petition were in sharp contrast to the apology email he had sent to the journalist in the days following her complaint to Shoma Chaudhury, the managing editor of Tehelka. (he later claimed he had done this on Chaudhary’s insistence).
On Monday, at an internal Tehelka staff meeting, Chaudhury contested the victim’s statement that she (Chaudhury) had not done enough on her complaint. “She described the sequence of events and communication exchanged between her and the victim… Chaudhury told us she was very proactive in responding to the victim’s grievance from the time she got to know about the incident,” said a Tehelka employee.
Sources close to the victim said she had feared being “slandered” from the very beginning. “This was why in her formal complaint to Shoma Chaudhury, she did not mention criminal action. She was aware that the moment the case took a legal turn, it would be difficult to stop the mudslinging and character assassination,” a friend had told HT last week.