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Shoma says sorry for ‘lapses’,but NCW ‘not satisfied’

Chaudhury complained to the NCW about the vandalisation of her residence by BJP workers led by Vijay Jolly.

Appearing before the National Commission for Women (NCW) hours after she resigned as managing editor of Tehelka on Thursday,Shoma Chaudhury apologised for “lapses” in handling the alleged sexual assault case.

In her meeting with NCW member Shamina Shafique,Chaudhury is learnt to have given a detailed account of the events that followed after the young journalist filed a complaint about the alleged sexual assault by Tehelka founder-editor Tarun Tejpal in a Goa hotel earlier this month. She also handed over the Tehelka management’s final report on the case.

Chaudhury apologised for not having a complaints committee in place as mandated by the Vishakha guidelines and also for not constituting an internal committee immediately after she came to know of the incident.

Speaking to mediapersons after her three-hour meeting with Shafique,Chaudhury said: “The criticism that I did not act in a measured way or in a correct situational framework,I accept that and I have apologised for it. But I would also like to remind everybody that I had a day-and-a-half to act on any of these before the media storm took over. I think I have made procedural mistakes but have been constantly accused,and questions have been raised about my integrity that I was trying to collude,cover up,hush up,” she said.

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Chaudhury said she decided to resign as she felt questions on her integrity would harm Tehelka. “I think most workplaces are not really prepared,sensitised or trained to deal with instances like this. But I continue to say that the fact the questions are being raised about… my integrity… It’s very painful to me,it harms Tehelka’s brand. That’s why I have stepped down. I have not stepped down because my other colleagues have stepped down,” she said.

But Shafique said she was not happy with Chaudhury’s response and the panel would speak to the three journalists whom the alleged victim confided in immediately after the incident. “We are not satisfied with her reply because there is no justification for not having a complaints committee in the first place and not constituting one when she received the complaint. She has apologised to us but we understand that this is a larger issue panning many other corporates,” said Shafique.

Chaudhury complained to the NCW about the vandalisation of her residence by BJP workers led by Vijay Jolly.

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Meanwhile,Delhi Police provided Chaudhury with a security cover. — With PTI inputs

Tejpal shouldn’t be given special treatment: BJP

With Tehelka’s Tarun Tejpal seeking more time to appear before the Goa Police,the BJP on Thursday said he should not be given special treatment as this case was going to be the test case for the amended rape law in the country. “Tejpal should be treated as the perpetrator of the crime. The amended law is on test in this matter. After the statement of the victim to a magistrate,this is an open-and-shut case,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said. He,however,sought to stress that this case should not be made out as a battle between the BJP and the founder-editor of Tehelka and reiterated the party’s position of letting law take its own course. ENS

Aruna Roy quits foundation

RTI activist and former member of the National Advisory Council Aruna Roy resigned from the Tehelka Foundation on Thursday. Roy,who is travelling in Rajasthan,was not available for comment but her office confirmed that she had resigned as a member of the advisory board of the foundation. ENS

Not shielding Tejpal,says Sibal

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Rejecting BJP’s charge that he was shielding Tarun Tejpal,Union minister Kapil Sibal said Thursday that law must take its course in the sexual assault case against the Tehelka editor. “If a person is guilty,he must be punished. If he is not,he must not be punished,” Sibal said. He also denied that he was a shareholder in Tejpal’s company. Sibal said Rs 5 lakh that he ‘donated’ for Tehelka was his way of “protecting the freedom of expression”. ENS

First published on: 29-11-2013 at 00:56 IST
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