Mumbai, Jan. 29: The journalist who has accused Tarun Tejpal of sexually assaulting her filed a complaint with Goa police today, saying an “unknown person” was trying to intimidate her through seemingly suggestive “half-truths”.
This is the second time that the girl has alleged “intimidation” since the November assault became public. She had then filed a police complaint, saying a member of Tejpal’s family was trying to bully her, but her mother was pressurised into withdrawing the case.
“This time it was an unknown person. Yesterday, around 11pm, I received an email which was also sent to people in the media and many of my social acquaintances along with pictures of mine with Robert De Niro and Tejpal, making wild allegations about me through half-truths. It even reveals my identity,” the journalist told The Telegraph this evening, minutes after filing the complaint with Goa police.
The email came on a day a Goa court extended the former Tehelka editor’s judicial custody by another 14 days. Tejpal has been in jail since November 30.
The picture attached in Tuesday’s email to the survivor — and posted on the Net — was taken by a Tehelka photographer on November 10, a day after the assaults. It shows the junior journalist flanked by De Niro and Tejpal with her hand seemingly around her boss.
The email, sent by one “Karan Singh” using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, says: “Here is the ‘Victim’ getting cozy with her ‘RAPIST’ on the VERY NEXT DAY AFTER TWO ALLEGED ‘ASSAULTS’!”.
Accompanied by other comments and the photograph in question, it goes on to say: “Check out her pose!!!
IS SHE TRAUMATIZED?? - NO!!
IS SHE HAPPY?? - YES!!!!”
Tehelka employees who were present when the picture was taken said the email and the way the photograph had been positioned portrayed a half-truth “twisted maliciously”.
“It seems from the photograph that the Tehelka journalist’s arm is around Tejpal, but a closer look will show that it was another photographer’s hand. There were at least four photographers of Tehelka in the room at that moment who clicked the picture from other angles at the same time. They will reveal the truth,” said an ex-employee of Tehelka who was present when the photograph was clicked.
Goa police sources confirmed that the picture was among a series of photographs clicked a little before De Niro’s session at the Tehelka Thinkfest 2013, where the assault took place. “We will access all of them and submit them to the court,” a police officer said.
A senior officer said after receiving the mail the victim had first contacted the investigating officer in the case, Sunita Sawant.
“But Sawant was in the middle of something important, so she called the DIG of Goa, O.P. Mishra, to seek help. On Wednesday, a Goa police team flew down to the city where the journalist is currently staying and registered her complaint against Tejpal after being satisfied that prima facie the complaint seemed valid.”
Sawant, too, has accused Tejpal of trying to intimidate her. On Monday, the investigating officer made an official complaint to the court alleging that Tejpal and his family members had threatened her.
Tejpal later sent a letter to Sawant denying the charge and saying he had been “impeccably cooperative with you and your team from the very beginning”.