Complaint lodged against Tehelka staff

NEW DELHI, AUG. 30. A retired Army officer and a programme officer of Shakti Vahini, a non-governmental organisation, have lodged a complaint with the Delhi police against Mr. Tarun Tejpal, Mr. Samuel Mathew, Mr. Aniruddha Bahal and other persons employed with tehelka.com for procuring women for the ``purpose of prostitution''.

Seeking action against the named persons under the Indian Penal Code, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956 and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, the complaint by Col. (retd.) K.S. Bhimwal of Qutab Institutional Area and Nishi Shrivastava, programme officer of Shakti Vahini, states that various articles in the media had made a mention of the use of sex workers in the Tehelka expose.

The complaint - copies of which have been submitted by the complainants to the Commissioner of Delhi police, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi district) and the Station House Officer of Connaught Place police station - says that ``while purportedly investigating corruption in the Ministry of Defence, Government of India and the Indian Army, the persons in-charge and associated with the affairs of M/s tehelka.com procured women for the purposes of prostitution and provided them to certain officials of the Indian Army.''

Stating that ``not only did the said persons procure women for the purposes of prostitution, but also filmed the said officers committing sexual acts with these women'', the complainants claim that in the course of various interviews, press conference and debate shows, Mr. Tarun Tejpal had admitted to having procured sex workers and making them available to the Army officials.

Of the view that in the course of the Tehelka expose, some persons involved with the company indulged in various acts of criminal conspiracy, cheating, impersonation and sedition vis-a- vis the Government, the complainants sought action against the named persons.

As for the use of women in the operations, the complainants say, that by using sex workers and filming them, the named persons have committed acts which not only denigrated women but were also grave offences under the Indian Penal Code and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.

The complainants have also stated that as per newspaper reports, the wife of Col. Anil Sehgal had complained to the President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister alleging that her husband who had been filmed by the tehelka was being blackmailed. The complaint also alleges production, distribution and circulation of writings and films which represent women in an indecent fashion and calls for action under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition Act), 1986.