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Sexual assault case is not Tejpal's first brush with law in Goa

Panaji: If and when the disgraced Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal responds to police summons and lands in Goa on Thursday, he won't find himself in unfamiliar territory.

Nor will it be the investigative journalist's first brush with the Goa Police.

Tehelka co-founder and editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal.

Tehelka co-founder and editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal.

Before he bought an Indo-Portuguese-styled villa in an idyllic Goan village like scores of other nouveau elite from New Delhi, Tejpal was a regular annual holidayer who relished the north Goa coastal party belt.

In the December of 2003, Tejpal who was vacationing along with family and friends at a beach resort in Calangute, had complained to the local police station about burglars striking one of the several hotel rooms occupied by his entourage.

Tejpal's guests included his wife Geetan Batra and friends including Puneeta Roy and Shoma Chaudhury, who resigned early Thursday morning as managing editor of the weekly news magazine.

"A case of burglary was registered at the Calangute police station. Some jewellery and cash worth Rs 60,000 were stolen. The case was being investigated by assistant police inspector Mohan Naik," a police official said.

The accused, who committed the theft was never arrested and the case closed, but a local English newspaper the 'Herald' at the time did run a front page story with the header 'King of sting, stung' referring to how the canny Tejpal was gypped by burglars.

In 2011, a cocky Tejpal also attracted the ire of the civil society here when the during the inaugural edition the controversy-ridden ThinkFest, the editor-writer had this advice to offer his guests:

"Now you are in Goa, drink as much as you want, eat... sleep with whoever you think of, but get ready to arrive early at the event as we have a packed house."

The comment had triggered outrage in Goa's civil society which attacked the Tehelka-founder for slandering a community.

Tejpal's other connection with Goa, apart from the ThinkFest, is the villa called 'Birdsong' which he bought in idyllic Moira in 2009 and upgraded, which now rents in excess of Rs 50,000 per night.

When Hartman de Souza, a veteran theatre artist had alleged rules were broken while upgrading the house, Tejpal, true to his style wrote a sarcastic, but eloquent rebuttal in an article titled 'Albert Pinto ko gussa kyon aata hai' published in The Hindustan Times.

"When I tell him how we have not violated or bent a single rule in acquiring or renovating our old house, he rages about how the rest of India is destroying Goa," Tejpal said in his article published in The Hindustan Times.

Tejpal's third connection with Goa has nothing really to do with his assets.

Like Tejpal, an editor who was accused of sexually harassing and later raping a junior colleague Goa too has its own share of editors who have had to face allegations related sexual abuse and sexual harassment at workplace.

Ishan Joshi editor of the Herald has been accused of sexual harassment at workplace in 2002 when he was news co-ordinator at the Statesman newspaper in Kolkata.

A labour suit which followed between the victim and the newspaper was ruled in the victim's favour in 2013. But a libel suit filed by Statesman and Joshi against the victim is still on.

When asked for comment Joshi said via an SMS: "The matter is sub judice and any comment would amount to contempt of court".

Editor of another English daily Navhind Times Arun Sinha was also accused of molesting a minor domestic help at his residence in 2005. Sinha was later acquitted by a trial court for lack of evidence.

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