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In a ripple effect, a high-powered panel withdrew Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal’s name for the membership of the Prasar Bharti board following allegations of sexual assault against the senior journalist.
Sources said, the committee headed by vice-president Hamid Ansari, had cleared two names, including that of Tejpal as members of the Prasar Bharti board on Tuesday.
But the alleged sexual assault on his junior colleague during THiNK Fest, a literary festival, organised by Tehelka magazine in Goa earlier this month, cost Tejpal his membership.
Ansari on Wednesday decided to withdraw his name and cancel the appointment.
The vice-president also called up information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari to apprise him of the move, the sources said.
The Prasar Bharati board comprises a chairman, an executive member (chief executive officer), a member (finance), a member (personnel), six part-time members, a representative of the ministry of information and broadcasting and the directors general of All India Radio and Doordarshan as ex-officio members.
The chairman is a part-time member with a six year tenure. The executive member has a tenure of five years, while member (finance) and member (personnel) are full-time members with a six year tenure. The board meets at least six times in a year.
The selection committee is headed by the Rajya Sabha chairperson (vice-president of India), and comprises the chairman of the Press Council of India and one President’s nominee.
Tejpal’s alleged sexual harassment of the colleague has snowballed into a major controversy. He announced on Wednesday night that he was “recusing” from his job for six months after an email by a woman journalist of his magazine alleging sexual assault on her by him was made public.