Alleging that Tehelka founder and its former editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal and managing editor Shoma Chaudhury were resorting to tactics of intimidation,character assassination and slander,the young woman journalist who had accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her resigned from the magazine Monday.
The resignation came as Tejpal filed an anticipatory transit bail application in the Delhi High Court saying the police are after him. A transit anticipatory bail is exemption from arrest to enable an accused to travel to a different city to appear in court there.
In an email to Chaudhury,the victim has said she is deeply traumatised by the lack of support offered by the organization,adding that it wasnt just Tejpal who had failed her as an employer but Tehelka that had failed women,employees,journalists and feminists collectively.
The victims resignation email,which sources said was sent Monday afternoon,says she was resigning because she
had been sexually molested by Tarun Tejpal on two occasions.
The victim says Tejpal failed to acknowledge sexual misconduct as demanded by her in his apology email to the Tehelka staff and had instead referred to it as an untoward incident.
This,according to the victim,was an attempt to cover up what had really occurred and now a way to protect the institution as claimed by Chaudhury.
In her email,the journalist also disputes Chaudhurys claims to news channels that she was satisfied with Tehelkas actions. His public acknowledgement of the apology did not include any reference to his grievous sexual misconduct,and you had still failed to set up an anti-sexual harassment cell as per Vishaka guidelines. This could,in no way,have left me satisfied,the email says.
The victim has also accused Chaudhury of attempting to establish that Tejpal has another version of events,which according to the victim is what any sexual predator does.
The matter was mentioned before the court of Justice G S Sistani Monday morning,with senior Advocates K T S Tulsi and Geeta Luthra appearing for Tejpal. The lawyers requested the court to hear the matter Monday afternoon on an urgent basis but were denied permission by the court which said that the matter did not require such urgency.
The bail plea is now scheduled to be heard by Justice Sunita Gupta Tuesday.
Sources said another close confidant and colleague of the victim,Ishan Tankha also resigned Monday. Tankha was one of three people the victim had confided in first after the alleged assault in Goa earlier this month and who was examined by the police on Sunday.
According to sources in Tehelka,a meeting of all employees was called Monday where the management explained their case and hinted there could be another version of events.
The woman journalist had in an email to Chaudhury November 18 accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her during the Think Fest media event Tehelka had organised.
Following her complaint,two of her colleagues and close friends had resigned last week and some columnists and consultants had also decided to end their association with the weekly.
(with inputs from Aneesha Mathur)