In new controversy, Tarun Tejpal denies harassing police officer

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TarunTejpalA new controversy has scaled up around former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, arrested in November for allegedly raping a younger co-worker.

Mr. Tejpal, who is imprisoned in Goa on charges of raping a younger co-worker there, says that the investigating officer handling his case has wrongly accused him of intimidation, and that influenced a judge to deny him bail earlier this month.

Mr. Tejpal, 50, has written a letter to police officer Sunita Sawant, which has been released to the media by his family.

He writes that after reviewing the court order that outlined the reasons for refusing him bail, “I am shocked and distressed by the observation that suggests you have complained of being intimidated and harassed by me. This is so far from the truth as to be outrageous.”

Mr. Tejpal writes that he has cooperated with medical and psychological exams, “answering over a thousand questions over several hours.”

Mr. Tejpal and his lawyers have claimed that the BJP, which governs Goa, is using the case against him as revenge for earlier exposes on some of the party’s top leaders that were published in Tehelka, an investigative news-magazine. The party has denied the charges.
In his letter to the officer handling his case, Mr. Tejpal refers repeatedly to “fishing expeditions” taken by the police which put him through irrelevant questions. He says the charges of intimidation and harassment are “merely a ploy to sabotage my chances for grant of my bail.”

The woman journalist who was allegedly raped by Mr. Tejpal at a Tehelka conference in Goa last year has quit the magazine. She did not file the case against him; the Goa police acted on the orders of the state government after emails between Mr. Tejpal and the woman were leaked. After that, the young woman has testified against Mr. Tejpal in the Goa court handling his trial.