NEW DELHI: The editor-in-chief of India’s leading investigative magazine is being probed over claims that he sexually assaulted a woman colleague, a senior police official said on Friday, after the media, activists and politicians urged a criminal prosecution.
The case came to light after the victim complained in an email to a superior that Tarun Tejpal, founder of the award-winning weekly, Tehelka, assaulted her twice in a hotel elevator during a conference in the resort state of Goa this month.
While she has not formally complained against Tejpal, police said they decided to act on the basis of the media reports of the leaked complaint, and that Tejpal could face charges of outraging the modesty of a woman and rape.
“It’s apparent from the media reports that something serious has taken place,” said Sanchita Rodrigues, a spokeswoman for the chief minister of the western state of Goa.
Police were studying closed-circuit video footage from the hotel to establish what happened, but there were no cameras in the elevators, she added.
The incident has triggered a media debate about silence over the harassment of women at their places of work, underlining a heightened awareness about rising cases of sexual violence in India after the fatal gang rape of a woman in Delhi a year ago.
Tejpal, 50, has stepped down from his position for six months, saying he was ready to cooperate with the police.
“There have been serious allegations cast on me in this last week, and unfortunately as sometimes happens in life, the complete truth and the need to do the honorable thing can come into conflict,” Tejpal said in a statement on Friday.