Top Indian magazine embroiled in sex assault scandal

By AFP
Published: November 21, 2013
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Editor admits sexually assaulting a colleague, says he would step aside for six months as 'penance.' PHOTO: FILE

Editor admits sexually assaulting a colleague, says he would step aside for six months as 'penance.' PHOTO: FILE

NEW DELHI: India’s leading investigative news magazine was embroiled in scandal Thursday after its editor admitted sexually assaulting a colleague and said he would step aside for six months as “penance”.

Tarun Tejpal, founder and editor of Tehelka magazine, wrote to the managing editor of the publication admitting “misconduct” which he said he must atone for by agreeing to stop working for six months.

“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,” Tejpal wrote in an email sent to staff at the magazine on Wednesday.

Women’s right groups criticised his response as insufficient and the revelations led news bulletins on cable networks.

“Sexual harassment is a crime… Tarun Tejpal & Tehelka must act acc(ording) to law, face consequences,” tweeted Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.

India’s media and rights groups are now more vocal than ever after a fatal gangrape of a student in December last year galvanised public disgust against rising sexual violence and the country’s gender imbalance.

The government passed a law toughening sentences for sex offenders in March, containing new penalities for a rape, stalking and groping.

Authorities would only investigate the incident at Tehelka if the victim files a police case.

The weekly magazine has made its name with a series of major national scoops and sting operations revealing cricket match-fixing, the involvement of politicians in religious riots in 2002 and bribe-taking.

The scandal broke just after police in New Delhi launched a probe into allegations of sexual harassment against an unnamed retired Supreme Court who was implicated by a young female lawyer.

India’s opposition prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is also in the eye of a storm following revelations in the media that one of his top aides ordered police surveillance on a woman at the behest of his “master”.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Stranger
    Nov 21, 2013 - 2:58PM

    I feel the incident should be forgotten now as he has accepted and apologized. There is no need to drag this incident further.

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  • Nov 21, 2013 - 4:18PM

    Now a days our Indian laws are very strict in Sexual harassment’s cases. It is a crime in India and all culprits who did this crime should be punished.

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  • genesis
    Nov 21, 2013 - 5:17PM

    It is not a top Indian magazine.It is just one more magazine fighting for attention with its scandal mongering journalism.

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  • lol
    Nov 21, 2013 - 5:29PM

    @Stranger: aren’t u one of those who first criticise govt for not doing anything to protect women and taking no action however if action is initiated people like u back out saying what u have said……pathetic!!

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  • antanu
    Nov 21, 2013 - 6:39PM

    @genesis:
    NO…YOU ARE WRONG…it is in fact the best investigative magazine we have over here in India….perhaps you are also a MODI fan who had been brutally exposed by the magazine…

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  • Victim
    Nov 21, 2013 - 9:01PM

    @Stranger:
    Do you mean to say that we should forgive if person commits sexual assault and rape and apologizes for his ‘misconduct’ afterwards? Does this mean that every rapist can be forgiven just because he apologized? Think about the victim of the assault my friend…

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  • antiterrorist
    Nov 21, 2013 - 9:05PM

    @antanu:
    here came,an “Indian” binladen. take care of your country pakistan and clean madrasas first.

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  • antiterrorist
    Nov 21, 2013 - 9:06PM

    @antanu:
    in your pakistan sexual culprits are national heroes and most respected. save them

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