Let Com decide, Tarun has a different version: Tehelka

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 22 November 2013 12:13 IST

Tehelka urged the media not to speculate but allow the independent committee to find out the truth in the sexual assault case as the accused, Tehelka Editor-in-Chief Tarun Tejpal, has a different version.

In a statement issued today morning, Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury also denied that she had tried to hush up the matter but actually confronted Tejpal and made him to apologise immediately.

Tejpal has stepped down from his position for six months while tendering unconditional aplogy for a sexual assault on her junior colleague at THiNK Fest held in Goa two weeks ago.

Following is the statement Chaudhury issued today morning:

"Both as an institution and an individual...I condemn any sexual harassment and non-consensual sex of any kind. Tehelka wants to make it categorically clear that the aggrieved journalist will have access to a redressal mechanism in keeping with the Vishakha guidelines headed by eminent feminist Urvashi Butalia and other impartial members of unimpeachable reputation.

Much has been made of Tehelka and how I, as its managing editor, tried to hush up the complaint made to me as an "internal matter" and not take it up. 

But absolutely contrary to assertions in media, I've taken every action over the past few days with the purpose of honouring my colleague's sense of injury and integrity. 

Contrary to media version that I have known about this for many days, I was first apprised of it this Monday. I was devastated when I read her account and confronted Tarun angrily. He had a completely different version of the incident, but because I was driven by my allegiance to women's rights, I completely overrode his version and asked for an unconditional apology because I felt that regardless of the different version, he had transgressed as the leader of the institution.

The very next day this formal unconditional apology was extended. Further, he stepped down because, in addition to her, he had betrayed the faith of others in office. In a phone conversation, the aggrieved journalist told me that the gesture showed that he was genuinely sorry and she did not feel the need for any "vengeance" and she had wanted justice and now needed time to heal..... It is only from TV that I came to know she was disappointed with the actions and that is why I have now set up a committee according to Vishakha guidelines.

Now both versions - hers and Tarun's - will be before the committee and the committee will come to its own conclusions based on the evidence. I am not here to judge or defend anyone. I would ask you to stop speculating and allow the committee to come to its conclusion and respect her privacy."

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