Tehelka: Goa police records statements of witnesses

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New Delhi, Nov 24: 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 at Goa Sadan here, sources said.

The woman journalist had also reportedly mentioned the name of her three colleagues in the complaint and said Chaudhary could corroborate facts about the incident from them. The sources said police are likely to question Tejpal later in the day.

Meanwhile, Tejpal's lawyer said the Goa police are yet to contact his or his client. Tejpal's arrest is not being ruled out. Chaudhary was yesterday 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 yesterday here, 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.

The statements were being recorded at at Goa Sadan.

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

Replying to a question about Tejpal's arrest, a highly- placed source in Delhi Police said if the victim files a complaint, Tejpal would be arrested immediately.

"But unless that happens, Goa police team will want to tick all boxes before arresting Tejpal," the official said.

The police will try to improve its case before initiating any action against Tejpal, he added. A team of Delhi Police, including Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav, was also present at the Tehelka office at the time of the questioning to provide logistic support to the Goa police.

The Goa Police Crime Branch team, which arrived here at around noon, is trying to collect e-mails of Tejpal in connection with the incident and the complaint of the girl to the magazine's management, following which the editor is likely to be questioned, a police official said and did not rule out his arrest.

A first information report has been filed against Tejpal booking him on rape and other charges. In Panaji, Goa Police DIG O P Mishra said they have been told that there are no CCTV cameras in the elevator of the hotel where the woman journalist of Tehelka magazine was allegedly sexually assaulted by Tejpal.

"The hotel authorities have told us that they have no specific cameras in the elevator. We are getting a detailed layout of cameras (from other areas) from the hotel and make a detailed analysis," Mishra told reporters in Panaji.

According to a statement by the alleged Tehelka victim, a member of Tejpal’s immediate family came to her mother’s house in New Delhi 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".

PTI

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