Pics: Tehelka's rise and fall; Has it reached its final chapter?

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New Delhi, Nov 28:What banged into media as an icon for truth and rightfulness, ended in controversy and crime.

For Tehalka, the downfall was gradual, but deplorable. Tarun Tejpal, the co-founder and Editor-in-chief was in his prime when he started the organization. Enthusiastic and observant, anything that went against the nation's or the society's interest hit him hard and he hit back without hesitation. Who would have known that an icon in media would fall prey to the enemies he fought in his initial years.

His past achievements

2001: Tehelka's first hidden-camera mission to crack the corruption in India's defence services in buying equipment. The sting operation held a number of senior officers guilty and forced the then defence minister George Fernandes to step down from his post for a while.

2001-2002: Tehelka proved that corruption is deep-rooted in politics with its (in)famous sting operations on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Bangaru Laxman when he was caught red-handed taking bribe from a Tehelka journalist disguised as a military equipment dealer. He had to resign then and about a decade later, he was sentenced to four year in jail.

He was acknowledged for all his exposes in the media, btut earned the wrath of BJP (in the centre then) who conducted search and seizure raids on the office. The employees and the sting operators were put to considerable inconvenience.

But Tarun Tejpal reigned as the hero when BJP was ousted in 2004.

Awards

He earned accolades for his work from across the world and media houses. Business Week, for instance, enlisted him among the fifty leaders as the forefront of change in Asia in 2001. Eight year later, he was honoured as one of India's 50 "most powerful" people.

The Guardian Newspaper from the United Kingdom, considered him as one of India's elite for championing "sting journalism" that changed the face of Indian media.

And the downfall follows...

Call it arrogance or ignorance, Tejpal started using his powers to gain sponserships for his magazine and websites. Incidentally, he started killing stories that were not in favour of particular corporate sponsors, which included a mining conglomerate operating out of Goa.

Considering this unethical and hypocritical, some of his employees parted ways with him.

Binoo John contemplates

A former colleague and a very close friend of Tejpal, Binoo John compares the Tejpal then and now.

"Generous and loving to a fault, he later became a killer of stories and careers. I cannot fathom all this. I am utterly broken. I knew early this year that his end was near. If you hit a bank once, you don't stop with that. You always want a second hit.

It is the same with assaults and one-night stands. He was a Messi in this difficult art, dodging through the most difficult of terrain and 'scoring' at will and confounding his victims, leaving them broken, shattered and often jobless....His mind was elsewhere. Like all great men he lived in the future but like all fallen men he could not see his own life and character being chipped away by the flesh-eating bacilli of ambition, greed and ruthlessness."

Tejpal's and Tehelka's fate are almost inseparable. He would now be behind the bars as his employees, including his colleague Shoma Choudhury, leaving his side one by one. Tehelka, which literally means storm, as if is hit by one itself.

In Panaji

Woman journalist who has accused Tarun Tejpal of sexually assaulting her after deposing before the Chief Judicial Magistrate at the Session Court in Panaji on Wednesday. Four woman constables came out along with the victim with covered faces to protect the identity of the victim.

In New Delhi

Durga Vahini Matri Shakti Delhi Pradesh activists protest against Tarun Tejpal at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Journalists of Tehelka magazine come out of Goa Sadan after being questioned by Goa police in New Delhi.

In New Delhi

Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhry arrives at her office in New Delhi.

In New Delhi

Delhi policemen enter the office of Tehelka in New Delhi.

In New Delhi

Goa police team headed by the investigating officer Sunita Sawant arrives at the office of Tehelka in New Delhi on Saturday.

In New Delhi

ABVP activists shout slogans as they protest against Tarun Tejpal outside Tehelka's office in New Delhi.

In New Delhi

ABVP activists burn a poster of Tarun Tejpal during a protest outside Tehelka's office c.

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