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Tehelka sexual assault case: Urvashi Butalia refuses to be part of probe panel

Any such panel that was planned was redundant now that due process under the law had begun,she said.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: February 6, 2014 4:27:23 pm

Renowened feminist and publisher Urvashi Butalia on Tuesday refused to be member of the committee constituted to probe charges of sexual assault against Tehelka founder and editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal.

Butalia’s publishing house confirmed the news on micro-blogging site Twitter as it posted “Our director Urvashi Butalia is not on the committee Tehelka was planning to set up in line with Vishakha guidelines.


The noted author wrote to Tehelka’s managing editor Shoma Chaudhury saying “saying any such committee that was planned was redundant now that due process under the law had begun.”


Chaudhury,last week,had said that “the committee under Urvashi Butalia would look into “both versions” of the incident.”

Chaudhury had admitted that her organisation did not have the institutional mechanism as prescribed in Supreme Court’s Visakha judgment.

Butalia’s refusal to be part of the probe panel comes a day after investigation in the sexual assault case gained momentum with Goa police saying that they have established contact with the woman journalist,who accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her.

The young woman journalist on Monday resigned from the magazine,alleging “tactics of intimidation,character assassination and slander”,and is expected to travel to Goa soon to record her crucial statement to the police.

The victim’s resignation email,which sources said was sent Monday afternoon,said she was quitting because she had been “sexually molested by Tarun Tejpal on two occasions”.

Her 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.

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 the matter did not require such urgency.

The plea is now scheduled to be heard by Justice Sunita Gupta Tuesday.

Sources in Tehelka 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.

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.

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Following her complaint,two of her colleagues and close friends had resigned last week and some columnists had also decided to end their association with the weekly.

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