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Thursday 18 September 2014

Magazine editor facing sex charges

Published 17/02/2014 | 08:02

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Police filed rape and sexual abuse charges against Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal (AP)
Women hold placards during a protest rally against Tarun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, in New Delhi (AP)

The high-profile editor of an Indian investigative magazine has been charged with sexually assaulting a female colleague in the lift of a five-star hotel in the resort state of Goa.

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Police said Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal tried to evade arrest for several weeks after being accused. He has been in custody since November 30 and faces a bail hearing tomorrow.

Tejpal has also been charged with rape and outraging the woman's modesty under newly expanded laws which broaden the definition of rape to include some other forms of sexual assault. If convicted he could face up to seven years in prison.

The case against Tejpal has stunned many in India, partly because he was the face of a weekly investigative magazine which has pushed Indian society to confront corruption and sexual violence.

The woman said Tejpal assaulted her twice in a hotel lift - on November 7 and 8 - when the magazine was hosting its annual conference of Indian leaders, newsmakers and celebrities.

The woman's duties at the conference involved escorting actor Robert De Niro and his daughter to events.

As the allegations became public, Tejpal first apologised for "a bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation" and said he was stepping down for six months. Later, he described the sexual encounter as consensual and fleeting.

Tejpal, 50, came under investigation after the woman told the magazine's managing editor about the alleged assault. The woman has not been named in line with Indian laws protecting identities in sexual assault cases.

Indian media chronicled every turn in the case, from leaked emails and police reports to a resignation letter in which the accuser said she endured "intimidation, character assassination and slander".

Six other senior staff members have also resigned.

Tehelka, which means upheaval or sensation in Hindi, is closely followed by Indian journalists and the English-speaking elite. Using sting operations and exposes, the magazine has taken aim at high-level corruption in India.

AP

Press Association

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