Indian magazine editor remanded in custody over sexual assault

Indian magazine editor Tarun Tejpal (second left) is escorted by officials as he leaves a session court in Panaji, on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013. Mr Tejpal was remanded in custody on Sunday after appearing in court on allegations of sexually assault
Indian magazine editor Tarun Tejpal (second left) is escorted by officials as he leaves a session court in Panaji, on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013. Mr Tejpal was remanded in custody on Sunday after appearing in court on allegations of sexually assaulting a colleague in a hotel in the holiday state of Goa. -- PHOTO: AFP

PANAJI, India (AFP) - Indian news magazine editor Tarun Tejpal was remanded in custody on Sunday after appearing in court on allegations of sexually assaulting a colleague in a hotel in the holiday state of Goa.

A Goa court ordered Tejpal remain in custody to allow police time to question the 50-year-old editor, who faces a possible rape charge over the allegations that could see him in jail for 10 years.

"The police had asked for 14 days' remand but after hearing our arguments, the court gave them six days of custody," Tejpal's lawyer Sandip Kapoor told reporters outside the court in Panaji, the capital of Goa.

Tejpal, the founder of top investigative magazine Tehelka, was arrested late Saturday after earlier flying into the state and pledging to cooperate with police over the allegations.

The editor, whose magazine is responsible for some of India's hardest-hitting undercover journalism, did not apply for bail on Sunday, after earlier being refused, and has denied the allegations.

The woman has told police her former employer molested her twice in a hotel elevator in Goa during a magazine-sponsored event in the seaside holiday hotspot last month.

Police have filed an initial case against Tejpal under sections of the criminal code including rape.

A stronger law introduced after outrage over the fatal gang-rape of a student last year included a wider definition of rape, and Tejpal could be jailed for 10 years if charged and convicted, lawyers say.

With India's media newly sensitised to sexual assault cases after a string of widely publicised gang-rape cases this year, the case has been front-page news for more than a week.

It has also cast a spotlight on abuse in the workplace.

The fatal gang rape of the student on a Delhi bus last December sparked sometimes-violent demonstrations and a long period of introspection in India about rising crime against women and gender inequality.

-- ST PHOTO: AMELIA TENG