Hours after the Goa Police registered an FIR and accused him of raping a colleague, Tehelka magazine founder and its editor-in-chief until earlier this week, Tarun Tejpal, Friday alleged that the victim was lying.
His lawyers, he said, know he is being framed, and are aware of “political forces driving much of it”.
“It is a totally mendacious account of what happened, in its details, in its tonalities, in its very suggestion of non-consensus,” Tejpal, who Wednesday stepped down as editor-in-chief for six months over the alleged incident, said referring to the allegations by his colleague.
“In cold light of day, much of it will sound unsavoury, but now the inquiry will reveal it all,” he told The Indian Express in response to questions emailed to him.
Tejpal also said that the allegation by the journalist that he told her the best way to keep her job was by not resisting his advances, was a “half-truth”. “This is one of the half-truths she’s voiced. Nothing of this, as she states, was said or intended,” he said.
“My lawyers know I am being framed, and are also aware of the political forces driving much of it now,” he added.
Sources close to the victim’s family said the journalist remains “mentally very strong” and described as “ridiculous” attempts being made to portray the sexual assault as “consensual” acts.
If this indeed was the case, the sources asked, why did Tejpal profusely apologise to her in writing and why did he step down as editor-in-chief. The family was working on its legal strategy and this would be clear shortly, they added.
The woman journalist has accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her on two occasions during a media event organised by the publication in Goa earlier this month.
After she complained in an email to Tehelka’s managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, Tejpal announced he was recusing himself from his job for six months to atone for what he claimed was an “unfortunate incident” caused by “a bad lapse of judgment” and “an awful misreading of the situation”.
He also claimed he had unconditionally apologised to the colleague for his misconduct.
Asked if recusing himself from work for six months was punishment enough in view of the grave allegations, he said: “I had no reason to do that. I did so because Shoma Chaudhury felt I needed to make a clear gesture of atonement to appease the journalist’s sense of being aggrieved. At this point Shoma did