6:17 pm - Tuesday November 3, 2015

Tejpal Sexual assault case: Goa Police record statements of three witnesses.

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Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpa breaks down, in custody for 6 days
Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpa breaks down, in custody for 6 days

The Goa police on Sunday started recording statements of three witnesses with whom the Tehelka woman journalist had reportedly spoken to after the alleged sexual assault on her by the magazine editor Tarun Tejpal

These are three colleagues of the victim with whom she had interacted soon after the alleged assault happened at a Goa hotel around a fortnight ago. She had also reportedly sent them e-mailed copies of her complaint to Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhary.

The statements were being recorded at Goa Sadan here, sources said.

The woman journalist had also reportedly mentioned the name of her three colleagues in the complaint and said Ms. Chaudhary could corroborate facts about the incident from them.

The sources said police are likely to question Mr. Tejpal later in the day. Meanwhile, Mr. Tejpal’s lawyer said the Goa police are yet to contact his or his client. Mr. Tejpal’s arrest is not being ruled out.

Ms. Chaudhary was on Saturday questioned for more than eight hours by the Goa police’s special investigation team.

The sources said that a three-member team of Goa police led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares, which arrived here on Saturday, had to the magazine’s office in posh South Delhi locality of Greater Kailash Part II and questioned Chaudhary and a couple of other employees of Tehelka.

Later, the team, which also includes Sunita Sawant who is the Investigating Officer in the case, also recorded the statements of Ms. Chaudhary and the other Tehelka employees questioned, they said.

The Tehelka magazine in a Twitter post had said Ms. Chaudhury shared all documents requested by the Goa police and that she would continue to assist with the investigation.

The sources said the Goa police questioned Ms. Chaudhary about when the issue first came to her knowledge and about the sequence of events. The police took into custody the e-mail trail between Ms. Chaudhary, the woman journalist and Tejpal.

Other than that, Ms. Chaudhary’s mobile phone, the tablet phone and laptop were also screened by the police, according to the sources.

As the questioning went on, the alleged victim issued a statement on Saturday night suggesting she and her family were being subjected to pressure and intimidation at an “intensely traumatic” time to “protect” Mr. Tejpal.

According to a statement, a member of Mr. Tejpal’s immediate family came to her mother’s house here and asked her (mother) to “protect Mr.Tejpal and demanded to know (1) who I was seeking legal help from and (2) what I wanted as the result of my complaint of sexual molestation by Mr.Tejpal“.

The Goa police team also requested the woman journalist to join the probe and formally file a complaint.

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