The National Commission for Women says it would launch a probe into the allegations against the Tehelka Editor if the matter is brought before it

The Centre on Thursday refused to be drawn into the issue of a woman journalist levelling allegations of “misconduct” against Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal even as the National Commission for Women said it would probe if the matter is brought before it.

“It’s a very sensitive issue. After scrutinising every details regarding the Tarun Tejpal issue and if there is any reaction to be given in that issue then we will definitely give our reaction,” Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters at IFFI venue in Goa.

“Since yesterday, we have been seeing this issue on TV, therefore after going into the deep detail, we will give our reaction,” he added.

Admitting “misconduct” against a woman journalist, Mr. Tejpal on Wednesday offered to recuse himself from the post and the office for six months.

In a letter to Managing Editor of Tehelka Shoma Chaudhary, Mr. Tejpal had said, “The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this... A bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for.”

“I have already unconditionally apologised for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further,” he added.

IANS adds:

NCW likely to probe issue

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women said on Thursday it would launch a probe into the matter if it is brought before it.

NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma said: “Once the matter is brought to the National Commission for Women, we will investigate and ensure that the accused gets punishment, if found guilty. He will have to face a trial in the court.”

“Tarun Tejpal is no god to decide his own course of punishment,” Ms. Sharma said about Mr. Tejpal’s announcement that he was recusing himself from the editorship of Tehelka for six months.

Former police official and prominent civil society activist Kiran Bedi termed the incident an “extremely erroneous act”.

“As per the law, there can be two actions taken: the first being the matter should be sent to the sexual harassment committee of Tehelka, if there is indeed any such committee, and the matter be investigated in detail,” Ms. Bedi said.

“The second being the police should take suo motu cognisance of the matter and investigate it to the core, even if the victim doesn’t want to file an FIR.”

“This shows how vulnerable woman are in Indian society,” Ms. Bedi added.

Social activist Kavita Srivastav said even if the victim does not file an FIR, Mr. Tejpal should not come back as the Editor of Tehelka.

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