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Updated: November 21, 2013 16:06 IST

Tarun Tejpal steps aside as Tehelka editor for 6 months

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Tarun Tejpal. File photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam
The Hindu
Tarun Tejpal. File photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Tehelka magazine editor Tarun Tejpal on Thursday admitted “misconduct” against a woman journalist and 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 said, “The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this... A bad lapse of judgment, 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.

Mr. Tejpal is a founder member of the Tehelka magazine.

“Because it involves Tehelka, and a sterling shared legacy, I feel atonement cannot be just words. I must do the penance that lacerates me. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months,” he said in his letter.

Ms. Chaudhary later sent a mail to the Tehelka staffers apprising them of the development.

“This may come as a rude surprise to many of you... There has been an untoward incident, and though he has extended an unconditional apology to the colleague involved, Tarun will be recusing himself as the editor of Tehelka for the next six months,” she said.

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This guy is worse than the 6 rapists of Delhi. Atleast they were illiterate mostly of not good background. This guy is supposedly educated and in a senior position. How can he rape a junior? He needs more severe punishment than the rapists of Delhi. At the minimum should be given 6-12 years in prison with no parole. SC should step in. Tehelka is not court of law to decide this as an internal issue. SC should step in.

from:  Honga Singh
Posted on: Nov 22, 2013 at 08:52 IST

So the new norm is to commit the sin and then seek atonement by offering profound apologies and recusing one's self from one's work responsibilities temporaily. What a sham !!!!!!.

Tarun Tejpal's fate should only be decided by law of the land and not by an apology and temporary recusal from duties. It is high time that the Journalist fraternity especially the women journalists stand up and nail this crappy guy for his disgusting behaviour.

from:  Ashwin Kamath
Posted on: Nov 22, 2013 at 07:47 IST

This is a clear case of rape.

Also, from the conversation that this man had with the victim at the time of alleged inappropriate acts clearly indicates that he is a serial offender. Looks like he ran out of luck this time.

Also, Shoma Chaudry's defence that their organization's interest is more important clearly indicates that she has willingly or unwillingly abetted in the crime.

Also her assertion that the victim will not file a police complaint is a clear threat and misuse of authority.

Both Shoma Chaudhry and Tarun Tejpal should be banned from media for 10 years. We cannot have rogues in the media as they wield great power to influence public opinion.

UPA govt seems to be happy to have such people in the media as they will be more than willing to help them as there is always a dagger hanging above their head.

from:  Ganesh Raman
Posted on: Nov 22, 2013 at 03:24 IST

Please tell me how is this different from Khap Panchayat of Haryana who asks rapist to marry the victim and thinks that all sins are atoned with this action.

Ms. Soma Chaudhry has acted as judge, juror, and investigator for her
boss. Mr. Tarun Tejpal is even a step ahead, he is the accused, the
investigator, the juror, and the judge. He is so much above law that he can determine his own punishment. This "holier than thou" attitude is abhorable. We punished ourselves and thus we are honorable people. Everybody else we will keep hounding till their graveyard.

from:  tarheelexpress
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 22:15 IST

Whatsoever has happened, shouldn't be taken casually as yet another
incident. The sexual harassment at work place and that too by a person
who till yesterday had great credentials of profession has raised many
questions. why his idea of 'penance' or self-punishment has taken more
than a week. Why shoma choudhary has stated it an internal matter, if
it really is so, then it shouldn't have be made public. The inquiry
should be made so as to check and figure out the 'hidden' facts. What
all this has been put forward in media circles as an incident of 'bad
judgement' under pretext of neutralizing the gravity of such an
incident , shouldn't be taken on the face value of it. Tarun has a
baggage of dealing with court hearings; you should at least realize
it is altogether different when you take a stand against state's
oppressive policies- you garner public support and sympathy; but this
time case is serious , your act is heinous. Law shouldn't be different
for a S-t(h)ink Tank.

from:  Nisar
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 15:08 IST

What always bothers me is why do 'seniors' whom usually kids /teenagers
address them as 'uncles' resort to this type of sexual activities?
Whether they are the retired Judges or the working Editors...are men all
the same? It is sickening.

from:  Vani Acharya
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 15:06 IST

Committing rape and then saying i am going on holiday for 6 months is it acceptable in Indian law and constitution?

from:  Honga Singh
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 15:04 IST

Look at the double standards COngress is playing.

1. BJP homeminister of Gujarat state orders some snooping of a girl (alleged and not even proved). Congress and NCW making a huge rukus.
2. COngress supporter and media boss molests (not sure if rape happened) a woman publicly and it is not even an issue. All quiet, NCW not even speaking.
3. Manu Singhvi involved in sex act with a lawyer in his SC chambers and nothing comes out in media. Congress quiet.

from:  Honga Singh
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 15:03 IST

It only shows that we held high moral standard when we take on others but otherwise we behave in a similar manner in a given situation or opportunity.

from:  kapil goel
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 14:35 IST

This crime can try and decide under legal provisions, no body is above the law.

from:  Naresh Kadyan
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 14:26 IST

What a big sacrifice Tarun Tejpal is making by 'recusing' himself from the editorship of Tehelka for six months! Why six months only? If he is serious, he should have quit the editorship for good. Such hypocrisy!

from:  A Narayanan
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 14:25 IST

Wow!! Will Delhi rapists be pardoned if they step down from their job
for 6 months... Now that this matter is out in the public and is a
criminal offence tehelka's own investigation is not sufficient. He
should be tried by our judicial system.

from:  Ganesh
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 14:23 IST

Same harassment case was filed by an Outlook employee against its senior
management. What is going on in media? I think these people think they
have the power of pen and can do anything they want. Shame on these

from:  ravi
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 13:58 IST

very disappointing on four counts. one is Tarun Tejpal had set himself
apart as an investigative journalist with impeccable credentials and
exposed with out fear, sad to see him one of the exposed. Secondly the
self imposed six months of recusing is balderdash. you can not decide
your own punishment and compounding the crime by saying the effected
journalist is satisfied is a lie. Once is an error, second incident
shows this was not an error at all. Finally who is Shoma Choudhury
kidding by saying this is an internal matter. it is no more internal
than the stalking of the Gujarat girl and as bad as the BJP defense
saying the father had asked for it. I have lost respect not only for
Tejpal but also Shoma Choudhury. i hope better sense will prevail and
Tejpal is sacked from the organisation and faces legal proceedings

from:  Subba Rao
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 13:36 IST

A good example of the 'blacksheep' in the journalistic world in the
name of investigative journalism. These 'rogue' blackmailers think
they can do anything they like and get away with apologizing..what
nonsense...These are the people who have recently created stir in the
media on stalking issue in connivance with CBI..just to divert the
public attention from the real issues looming over the country
now..they were the one who were shouting from the roof about modesty
and privacy of women maligned by snooping in Gujarat. what is the
answer to the affected women now by the NCW which has joined hands
with Congress to malign the opponents in the name of Women
privacy/modesty in the recent tape matter floated by these 'rogue'
blackmailers in the name of journalism...we are really ashamed of
these people..I dont know why media is all promoting these gossipers
and blackmailers and divert the issue confronting the nation.

from:  j narayanan
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:48 IST

I worked with the guy years ago as a journo and revered him. This is just too shocking. I remember his decrying sexual harassment as the workplace. And now this?! Too shocking.

from:  Indrani Bhaduri
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:34 IST

Of late, number of cases of sexual violence against and exploitation of women in India has been increasing alarmingly. An immediate attention of every dutiful citizen has to be drawn towards such incidents in the institutions of the journalism, police stations, judiciary… which are supposed to safeguard dignity and safety of women.
Having said that, there are also cases in which the victims disclose such sexual exploitation by their higher authorities or the bosses after years, when the promises made in return for sexual favourism look an unlikely occurrence. As far as the Tehelka-Sex-Scandal is concerned, it is not an internal matter of the magazine, but a major public concern for it involves question of the quality of media and journalism and its faithfulness to its claim to be the fourth pillar of democracy.

from:  A.Kannan
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:25 IST

My dear friends, It is hypocritical on the part of Tejpal to commit a sin which he has been deploring all along. He will be accountable for his lapse.

from:  vijay
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:19 IST

Back to job after 6 months. He talks like politicians. Shame on him and they talked big on Think 2014

from:  rajeev bhargava
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:10 IST

There cannot be one standard for politicians and another for journalists and media persons. He cannot impose punishment on himself like the secularists certifying themselves as "secularists". He should not come back to the institution he represented, if he respects law or moral grounds.

from:  subramanian
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:07 IST

Cool. So six months leave from the job (paid leave??) is the self decided punishment for this crime. Do all the people Tehelka goes after get the same liberty?

from:  Rajagopal
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:06 IST

The ' error of judgment' phrase has become very fashionable for
disguising the criminal intent, ignorance, and misdeeds by many
people, since PM Manmohan called the appointment of PV Thomas as CVC,
which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In a sense
most of the crimes can be called errors of judgment. Tarun Tejap must
be held accountable for his abominable deed, for outraging a woman.
Wasn't he aware before committing the actions that what he did was
criminally cognizable? He was. He had been evaluating the people with
very high standards. He must now face the same standards. A case must be
filed against him, and he be prosecuted. That is the due process of
course in all such cases. Here the public interest is also involved.
The matter can't be left to the organization or between the concerned
parties for negotiations.

from:  Meghshyam
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 12:06 IST

This is certainly not a case of bad judgement and media deserves more scrutiny than the public as they have the power and apparatus to influence public opinion.

NCW Mamta Sharma should file a case against Tarun Tejpal and he should be tried on charges of Rape.

from:  Ganapathi S
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:57 IST

Will Congress take-up this issue as an assault on Women-safety?Will
Natrajan,Bahuguna,Girija Vyas take-up this issue as an attack on
women? Will they run to address a press-conference and demand an
inquiry through a sitting judge of SC?If Congress is silent on this
issue,it will be established in Indian mind with confirmation that
Congress,in collaboration with people like Tejpal and Bahal,is highly
engrossed in filthy political vendeta.Will NCW take-up this case and
demand a report on the issue from Tehlka without waiting for any
complaint by the lady who has been harassed by Tejpal?NCW has acted in
some case in the near past even though the lady,alleged to have been
harassed for her privacy,not complained to NCW. Will the authorities of
NCW follow same procedure? <

Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:51 IST

in Gujarat snooping case, NCW taking SUO MOTO action (when girl and her father is not interested to pursue the case ahead) and in this case, NCW waiting for formal complaint from victim...

what a double standard.. is not against the dignity and modesty of a woman???? why NCW is not taking suo moto action in this case?? where are the congress women supporters??? why they are not protesting???

It clearly shows that NCW is not working independently and they are working like a congress organization..

from:  avinash khandelwal
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:50 IST

Why should he and Shoma be allowed to decide the correct and neccsesary
penance? It is the duty and right of the judicial system and the matter
must be handled in a prescribed fashion in the democratic world, this
way they are setting the precedent that anyone can commit any heinous
crime and then go for self-proclaimed-atonement and declare themselves
free of any guilt and responsibility, the accused doesn't have the
right to decide the penance

from:  Anonymous
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:43 IST

What a farce! During THiNK 2013 event, Shoma Choudhary was busy interviewing rape victims, pledging her support towards bringing such incidents to light and backstage, Tarun was having his hands full in such disgusting acts. Tarun is a blot on the face on Indian media and journalism. No wonder such acts make the stalwarts of journalism like Tina Brown say that journalism is no longer alive, its dead!
Shame on Tarun and shame on Shoma, who refuses to conduct an inquiry into this incident

from:  Nitin
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:41 IST

Dear Sir,
The high profile cases involving the Supreme Court judge, Amit Shah in Gujrat, or Mr. Tejpal, the victim are unwilling to file police complaint.
It is no wonder that victims of Asaram were quite or made to shut up for such a long time.

The educated girls involved in high profile cases must file police complaints to set an example that no one is above the law.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:40 IST

Wow! Commit a crime and repent for 6 months at a spa or in your luxury

from:  Mithun
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:39 IST

Some of our self-appointed guardians of decency and secularism in 'new'
India, are turning their 'tej' and 'arora' (in Samskritam both relate to
beneficial light or fire!!) on young women in their midst. I hope Tejpal
and / or the young woman had a blooming secret camera to record his
brazen behaviour.

from:  Murthy
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:39 IST

Why are the police not taking action on Tarun Tejpal?
He should rightly be in prison and not be allowed to pontificate in his "news magazine".
The public should now closely watch on how the so called "independent media" will be reporting this case in the coming weeks and months. However, I am very sure, that our "Fourth Estate" will maintain a guilty silence and then we shall all truly wonder if there is a Justice System in this country.
It is sad that in our vast land, Shame has now no place to hide!

from:  E. Kumar
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:32 IST

The entire thing should be investigated raher than self punishment. What is NCW doing and they should take it up like the way they take up other cases. Also a suo moto order from courts are welcome too.

from:  Gopal
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:31 IST

An exemplary decision from a man who has been trying to create great
public awareness on the misconduct of high and mighty.

from:  Narendar Kesav
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:20 IST

Mr. Tejpal - we are sick of your double standards!!! Why should you not be in jail!!!

from:  Man Singh
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:17 IST

How ironical. The mastermind of "sting" operations seem to have been stung due to "a bad lapse of judgement"? Farcical and ludicrous! I hope the proactive media ensures that this person is punished appropriately and an FIR registered on him promptly. He and the self styled godman Mr.Asaram who abuse and molest women should be locked up in the same cell. Also shameful is Ms.Shoma Chowdhury and Mr.Javed Akhtar's defence of this person.

from:  Rasul Sheik Muhammad
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:13 IST

BLOW TO TEHELKA. Now that the credibility of this newshouse is further eroded, what will the Congress use to hit the right wing with? Its main weapon has been blunted. Thank you, Tejpal.

from:  Sudarshan
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:09 IST

Sexual harassment (that's very kind word for an attempt to rape) at
workplace is a serious crime.

He cannot be let off by mere atonement. A minimum of 10 years jail term
is required to atonement.

from:  RainMaker
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:09 IST

how cool..stepping down as editor.. for six months.. for what an act
what a credit to his parents, his wife, his family... his journalistic clan.. his school.. place of his graduation.. of his everyone
now.. after repeated news of such kind..every parent of a girl child will be impassed.
why to send her to school?
why to educate her?
why to send her abroad?
it is a fear, to have girl children brought up in such a culture

from:  vaishnavadevi
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:08 IST

Tarun Tejpal should be Hanged till Death. He and his news paper talks so much of moral values and he is personally involved ina rape. They have been making so much noise since last 10 days on Snooping and Women rights since last 10 days. This is what their own standard is. The Magazine should be banned and all assets confiscated.

from:  Prem Kumar
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 11:05 IST

We see the hypocritical attitude of Tehelka. Legal action should be
taken against its founder editor Tarun Tejpal and he should be punished
for the alleged molestation of the woman journalist. Tehelka is a
partisan journal. What action is NCW taking. They are very quick in
taking action in the Gujarat snooping case. Why are they silent on
Tehelka case

Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 10:40 IST

This is so ridiculous, Tejpal should be 100 times more responsible, as his esteemed magazine has been vociferous about gender issues sincelong and brought soem highly eye-opening articles. He should be accountable for his horrendous misconduct, which sounds so simple.

from:  Hither
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 10:36 IST

A very fruitful career now tainted. He supposedly committed this crime at an event for which he has worked for the entire year and shockingly on the first day of the event! Tehelka should responsibly handle this and should take appropriate actions.

from:  Nikhil Bhat
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 10:24 IST

This man should be behind bars

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 10:17 IST

This person has to be punished for rape and molestation. I don't know why media and women organizations are silent on this?

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 10:10 IST

The Hindu should ask FIR filed against this journalist for rape and taken to court.

from:  Honga Singh
Posted on: Nov 21, 2013 at 10:10 IST
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