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Tehelka fallout: Cong squirms at allegations of proximity to Tejpal

Apparently still smarting from the Congress party's attack on Narendra Modi following the snooping scandal in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party has alleged that the Congress is treating the Tehelka sexual assault case, and accused former editor Tarun Tejpal, with kid gloves.

Even as Congress spokespersons scurried to respond to allegations that Tejpal was close to the Congress leadership, Subramanian Swamy released to the media a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi assuring that Tejpal's representation regarding cases against the magazine would be examined by the ministries concerned.

 Tehelka fallout: Cong squirms at allegations of proximity to Tejpal

Tarun Tejpal. AFP

Swamy's disclosure "is bound to add fuel to a bitter war of words between the BJP and the Congress over “politicization” of the sexual assault charges," said this report in The Times of India.

The letter handed out by Swamy dates back to 2004 and appears to be a response from the PM to Sonia's intervention on behalf of Tejpal. Tehelka had claimed that the NDA had foisted cases against the magazine following its sting operation against then BJP chief Bangaru Laxman and defence minister George Fernandes.

After the sting operation, an investigation was conducted into Tehelka and its investor First Global regarding alleged stock market manipulation.

On Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said five Union ministers were protecting Tejpal, even as Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala denied the allegations. Lekhi refused to name the ministers.

In Goa, responding to allegations from Tarun Tejpal that the BJP-led government was running a motivated campaign investigation against him, chief minister Manohar Parrikar asked whether Tejpal accepts that he is a Congress stooge.

The Congress is now trying hard to deflect the allegations of not speaking out vociferously enough against Tejpal. A report in The Telegraph said that despite the Congress's denials, Tejpal's rapport with senior Congress leaders is well-recorded.

"There is no doubt about Tejpal’s rapport with several Congress leaders. The information and broadcasting ministry had even taken a decision to induct him into the Prasar Bharati board but the decision was hastily rescinded," said the report.

It was upon being asked about the party's continued obsession with the snooping row despite the Tejpal episode that Surjewala said the Congress would protect the dignity of every woman.

Congress women’s wing chief Shobha Oza said it was "unfortunate" that a personal affair is being politicised.

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2013 14:33:31 IST