Tehelka magazine editor takes leave after sexual assault allegation

tejpalNEW DELHI — A prominent Indian magazine said Thursday its top editor has apologized and left his job temporarily after being accused of sexually assaulting a colleague in the western tourist resort of Goa.

No formal charges have been filed against Tarun Tejpal, editor of the New Delhi-based Tehelka magazine known for investigative journalism.

Goa state Chief Minister Manohar Parriker said police are investigating an alleged incident during an annual function held by the magazine more than a week ago. He said the woman has not made a complaint to police.

Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury said Tejpal has apologized to the accuser and stepped down temporarily.

Chaudhury also said she was setting up a committee to investigate the woman’s allegation of sexual misconduct against Tejpal.

“My priority is that the aggrieved journalist should feel that she is being done justice. She wanted an apology. It was given. He has stepped down,” she told reporters.

Tejpal could not be reached for comment.

Women’s rights groups said Tejpal’s apology was not enough and demanded that he be criminally prosecuted.

“Sexual harassment is a crime. Tarun Tejpal and Tehelka must act according to law, face consequences,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.

A brutal gang rape in a moving bus in New Delhi last December unleashed a wave of public anger over the treatment of Indian women and frequent sexual violence. The victim of the rape died two weeks after the attack.

Street protests that followed sparked major reforms to the nation’s sexual assault laws.