“...The truth is the moment I got this complaint ...I acted absolutely wholly and solely driven by my desire to address the aggrieved journalist’s sense of injury and to act in her interest”
Under attack over the way she handled the complaint of a sexual assault of a woman colleague by Tehelka Editor Tarun Tejpal, its Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury said she over-ruled his version and made him issue an apology to the victim.
Talking to reporters, she said she has acted in a way contrary to what has been appearing in the media.
“The truth is and I will be speaking out in great detail about this, the truth is the moment I got this complaint, (which) has not been for many days but actually only on Monday this week, I acted absolutely wholly and solely driven by my desire to address the aggrieved journalist’s sense of injury and to act in her interest,” she said.
Ms. Chaudhury said when she confronted Mr. Tejpal about the matter “very, very angrily”, he had a different version.
“I absolutely over-ruled his version and asked for unilateral unconditional apology from him,” Ms. Chaudhury said.
She said that the journalist had complained to her on Monday and the unconditional apology was extended to her on Tuesday.
“Further to this he stepped down, because my sense was that regardless of differing versions, whether it was consensual or non consensual, as a leader of the institution he had transgressed and in addition to her, he had betrayed the faith of other journalists,” she said.
Ms. Chaudhury said the letter was leaked so instantaneously that further action was not possible in a measured way.
“To my understanding because I did speak to the aggrieved journalist just before I sent the letters, she told me that this was something that showed her he was genuinely sorry for what happened that she felt no further need for vengeance, that she was driven by need for justice and now needed to heal.
“Which is why when it leaked, I would have phrased it differently. Because I was besieged by so many calls, I said she was satisfied with it. It is only from TV that I got to know that she was deeply disappointed by my response,” she added.
Ms. Chaudhury said that a committee, headed by activist Urvashi Butalia, will be set up.
“I assure you it will have impartial members of unimpeachable character and reputation and we are trying to set it up at the very earliest. If my wishes are played out then it will be by the next day or so,” she said.