Tarun Tejpal, Shoma Chaudhury face grilling by Goa police over sexual assault

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Tehelka Magazine's Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury is surrounded by media personnel as she leaves her office in New Delhi. (Express photo: Oinam Anand) Tehelka Magazine's Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury is surrounded by media personnel as she leaves her office in New Delhi. (Express photo: Oinam Anand)
SummaryDefiant Tarun Tejpal, Shoma Chaudhury face imminent police crack down.

A special investigation team of Goa Police today reached Delhi to quiz Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, who has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman colleague, and its managing editor Shoma Chaudhury and will try to meet the victim.

The four-member Crime Branch team which arrived at around noon in the national capital is likely to record the statement of Chaudhury before further action, according to a senior Goa police official.

The team is led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares and includes a woman. Police are trying to collect e-mails of Tejpal in connection with the incident and the complaint of the girl to the management following which he will be questioned, the official said and did not rule out his arrest.

Police will also be trying to meet the victim and get an independent statement from her, the official said.

Delhi Police today said it will extend full support to the special investigation team of Goa Police.

Goa Police had yesterday filed an FIR against Tejpal under Sections 376 (rape), 376 (2) (rape by a person of a woman in his custody taking advantage of his official position) and 354 (outraging modesty) of IPC in connection with the incident that took place during an event in Goa a fortnight ago.

Conviction under Section 376 of IPC entails a maximum of life term in jail.

Chaudhury, who had yesterday asserted that they would not go to police on the issue as it was for the victim to decide on it and was accused of not cooperating with police, today said she was in touch with the cops and was ready to provide all necessary information to them.

"There is a difference between me going to the police and initiating a case that my colleague may not want voluntarily ... (and) the state initiating a case with which I will, of course, cooperate and I have been cooperating and the information in the media is wrong," Chaudhury said.

"Right now, I am going to meet the police and yesterday I have already sent the information the police needs. I have sent a mail earlier in the morning to them and I will be sending stuff," she told reporters.

On the contention that she can be charged with destruction of evidence, Chaudhury said no such case is made out and repeated her defence that she had got the editor "to step down and apologise" despite "the fact that there is different version".

Her remarks yesterday that Tejpal had a "different version", had drawn the ire of activists, who said it amounted to character assassination of the victim.

"If I am accused of destruction of evidence which is not the case as again and again I am telling you, the public record will show. I'll play itself out.

"The law will take its course.... I have already said that getting the editor to step down or an unconditional apology despite the fact that there is a different version is not destruction of evidence," she said today.

The issue came into limelight when the email by the woman journalist of his magazine alleging sexual assault was made public and Tejpal announced on Wednesday night that he was "recusing" from his job for six months.

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