A photograph that shows Tarun Tejpal with the young journalist he is accused of raping has become the latest flashpoint in the case, with both sides asking the police to determine who is responsible for circulating the picture via email.
Mr. Tejpal, 50, is the former editor-in-chief of Tehelka, an investigative newsmagazine. He was arrested in late November for allegedly sexually assaulting his younger co-worker at a Tehelka conference in Goa earlier that month.
The emailed photograph shows the young woman with Mr. Tejpal and Hollywood star Robert DeNero, who was among the speakers at the Goa event. The journalist’s face is clearly seen in the photograph in violation of the law that says the identity of rape survivors must be protected. In a case filed with the Goa police, she has alleged that the photograph violates her privacy and is being circulated to slander her. The email that forwards the photograph includes comments described as slanderous by the journalist. Mr. Tejpal’s lawyers have argued earlier that her attendance proves that the encounter with Mr. Tejpal was consensual; if she was in trauma, they have said in court, there were no visible signs.
The journalist says the email is being used to reinforce that argument.
However, sources close to Mr. Tejpal say that he believes that the email and photo are being circulated to make it seem like he is trying to intimidate and defame the young woman in the hope that this will hurt his chances of bail. He is likely to file a case asking the Delhi Police’s cyber experts to determine the source of the email. Mr. Tejpal is expected to ask the police to check the servers at the Tehelka office to identify whether they were used.
The reporter who quit Tehelka days before Mr. Tejpal was arrested has in the past accused his family members of trying to intimidate her.