The Goa police team probing the alleged sexual assault case against Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal returned today after questioning three employees of the magazine who had been contacted by the victim to corroborate her version as it seized a hard disc and documents.
Contrary to reports, the three-member police team, which had flown into Delhi from Panaji yesterday, left without questioning Tejpal.
The police had questioned Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury for around nine hours from 4:45 PM yesterday to around 2 am at the magazine's office in posh Greater Kailash-II in South Delhi.
The investigating team took into custody the e-mail
exchanges among Chaudhury, the woman journalist and Tejpal, a CPU, besides several documents. Other than that, Chaudhury's mobile phone, an iPad and her laptop were also screened by the police, according to the sources.
"Yesterday, at the Tehelka office, the Goa police took my deposition for about 9 hours, it was extremely courteous experience and I fully cooperated and showed every document that was relevant, every email exchange that was there between my colleagues, the management, it was shared, it was a good experience and I hope it helps bring clarity and justice to the entire case," Chaudhury said today.
Meanwhile, Tejpal is understood to be contemplating moving the court in this case. Media reports had earlier quoted him as saying that the victim is lying and that he is being framed. He also alleged that "political forces are driving much of it", In a parallel development, National Commission of Women (NCW) has asked the Mumbai Police to provide security to the victim while stressing that the woman journalist should come forward and put her case firmly. Earlier in the day, the Goa Crime Branch team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares recorded statements of the three colleagues of the victim with whom she had interacted soon after the alleged assault happened at a Goa hotel around a fortnight ago. She had also sent them copies of the email which she had sent to Chaudhury complaining about the alleged sexual assault by Tejpal.
In Panaji, DIG O P Mishra said the team had not established contact with Tejpal at this stage. "I will not share any minute detail that will hamper the investigations," he told reporters, adding "we are proceeding in the right direction".
Mishra said many things were coming out in the social media which were against the broad principles followed in sexual assault cases. The media, he said, should realise the sensitivity involved in this case and do nothing which hurts the dignity of the victim. He also warned that there were "criminal implications" of such reporting. "We have taken cognizance of this and we will not hesitate to take legal action". The woman journalist had mentioned the names of her three colleagues in the complaint and said Chaudhury could corroborate facts about the incident from them.
The recording of statements of the three journalists at the Goa Sadan in Delhi started at around 9 am and continued for more than four hours. They left Goa Sadan at around 1:45 pm and refused to talk to media persons.
According to highly placed sources in the Delhi police, the Goa team, which also included Investigating Officer Sunita Sawant, did not have on its agenda questioning or arrest of Tejpal during this trip.
"They have contacted the victim and requested her to record her statement in the case. They have also asked her to file an official complaint in this matter," the sources said. Replying to a question about Tejpal's arrest, he said that if the victim files a complaint, Tejpal would be arrested immediately.
"But unless that happens, Goa police team will want to tick all boxes before arresting Tejpal," the official said. The police will try to improve its case before initiating any action against Tejpal, he added. Delhi police sources said the Goa police questioned Chaudhary about when the issue first came to her knowledge and about the sequence of events.