Tehelka rape case: Journalist defends story on ‘discrepancies’
New Delhi – A filmmaker’s controversial Facebook post and a news article have sparked a huge row over Tehelka founder Tarun Tejpal, who has been in a Goa jail since December over charges of raping a younger colleague.
Journalist Manu Joseph has defended his cover story in the newsmagazine Outlook, which highlighted an alleged mismatch between CCTV footage from a five-star hotel and the young woman’s version of what happened inside one of its elevators on two nights in November last.
The footage is from a camera outside the elevator where Mr Tejpal allegedly assaulted the woman. There were no cameras inside.
Asked whether he had seen the footage, Mr Joseph told NDTV, “It is irrelevant whether I saw the footage or not. When I was doing the story I spoke to someone on the prosecution.” He insisted that his article makes no judgement on the case.
The story observes, for example, that the woman said that after the alleged incident she hurried out of the lift. The CCTV footage, Mr Joseph comments, “shows her following at a leisurely pace.” Mr Joseph also writes that while the woman says Tejpal “pulled her by the wrist”, the CCTV footage doesn’t show that.
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap referenced the story when he controversially posted on Facebook, “I have seen the CCTV footage too and none of what the girl says about Tarun Tejpal is true.” (read: Anuraj Kashyap bats for Tejpal)
On Wednesday, Mr Tejpal’s older daughter Tiya hit out at activists and journalists who have alleged a campaign to malign the woman based on the CCTV footage that can’t legally be shown to anyone but the defence and prosecution. (Tejpal’s family showing CCTV footage to everybody: prosecution)
“Usne such bola toh WOH BHI rapist. wow! Discrediting @seemamustafa or manu joseph or anurag kashyap or anyone who has an opinion is the going strategy apparently,” tweeted Tiya Tejpal. She was a close friend of the woman who has alleged rape.
Last month, the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court said, “Suffice it to say that the CCTV footage, prima facie, does not help the applicant to prove his innocence, since it did not cover the incident inside the lift…”