New Delhi : Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal — accused of sexually assaulting a woman journalist in a lift — on Tuesday tried to defend his misconduct by describing it as ‘’light-hearted banter’’ which led to a ‘’moment of privacy’’ between two individuals.
His statement, contained in his anticipatory bail petition filed in the Delhi High Court, further tries to project the victim as a liar. The statement says, “I am shocked to learn that a false complaint was sought to be projected as an incident of alleged harassment. The encounter was only light-hearted banter, which led to a moment of privacy between two individuals. Our meeting lasted a few seconds and no intimate moment was shared between us.”
Tejpal’s version of the incident in the bail petition clearly contradicts his earlier account of what transpired. In an email to the young journalist last week, he had written, “I apologize unconditionally for the shameful lapse of judgment that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you on
two occasions…despite your clear reluctance.” Tejpal had then also said that he was stepping down from his post of editor-in-chief to ‘atone’ for the misconduct. On Tuesday, atonement was the last thing on his mind.
Instead, he tried to slander the victim by asserting in his application that she was “at every party and social event at the conference organized by the Tehelka at Goa and stayed out late into the night.”
“The complainant continued to party and was completely normal and friendly all throughout her stay in Goa,” Tejpal further contends in his bail plea, almost suggesting that she was not at all distraught after the alleged molestation.
In keeping with the tenor of this argument, Tejpal described the alleged incident as belated and an afterthought since it was reported after 10 days.
‘’There was not a single whisper from any corner including the complainant that any alleged untoward occurrence had taken place during the Goa conference,’’ Tejpal has pointed out to buttress his argument that the complaint was clearly motivated and false.
The bail plea also states that the nature of the meeting in the lift can be easily established by a perusal of the CCTV footage of Hotel Hyatt, Goa, which is within the knowledge and reach of Goa Police but the ‘’same has been blatantly ignored by the investigating agency’’.