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Home / Industry / Media /  Shoma Chaudhury quits Tehelka; Goa police seek warrant to arrest Tejpal

New Delhi: Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal, battling accusations of sexually assaulting a junior colleague, on Thursday withdrew his appeal for anticipatory bail in the Delhi high court and sought more time to appear before the Goa police, which rejected his request and moved a court for a warrant to arrest him.

Also on Thursday, Shoma Chaudhury resigned as managing editor of the magazine.

“We told the judge that we are withdrawing it (bail plea) with a liberty to approach (an) appropriate court for appropriate remedy which also includes anticipatory bail, and the court allowed our plea," Sandeep Kapur, Tejpal’s lawyer, said.

On Wednesday, the high court declined to provide anticipatory bail to Tejpal.

According to legal experts, Tejpal was complicating matters by first seeking and then withdrawing his application for bail.

“He is blundering his way through without having any rational understanding of the implications of what he is doing," said Aman Lekhi, a senior advocate and criminal law expert. “Moving in this ham-handed manner will tie Tejpal up in more knots."

Tejpal stepped down as Tehelka’s editor-in-chief for six months on 20 November after the junior colleague complained that he sexually assaulted her twice in an elevator when they were at an event organized by the magazine in Goa earlier this month.

On 25 November, the woman journalist resigned, accusing Tejpal and Chaudhary of “intimidation, character assassination and slander".

Goa police, which has filed a case of rape and outrage of modesty against Tejpal, asked him to appear before it by 3 pm on Thursday. Tejpal wrote a letter to the police saying that he was ready to cooperate in the investigation and sought more time to appear before it. His lawyer, Kapur, said Tejpal was ready to appear before the police on Friday.

Goa police moved a local court for a non-bailable arrest warrant against Tejpal after he failed to present himself before the deadline. On Wednesday, the victim of the alleged sexual assault recorded her statement before a magistrate in Panaji.

Goa’s deputy inspector general of police O.P. Mishra said “whatever logical and legal step as empowered by law has already been initiated".

When asked whether Tejpal’s arrest was being considered, he shot back: “There should be no doubt that the next logical step is that. The IO (investigating officer) is proceeding as per logical and legal protocol."

Tehelka’s managing editor Chaudhary, in her letter of resignation, meanwhile, wrote: “Over the past week, I have been accused of an attempt to ‘cover-up’ and for not standing by my feminist positions. While I accept that I could have done many things differently and in a more measured way, I reject the allegations of a cover-up because in no way could the first actions that were taken be deemed suppression of any kind."

She wrote: “I do not want questions raised about my integrity to tarnish the image of Tehelka, which it has done in the past week. Therefore, I resign as managing editor with immediate effect."

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