Cong dumps Tejpal, Kamal Nath refuses to meet daughters

He was truly the ‘blue-eyed boy of the UPA and his closeness with the who’s who in the Congress party was in full display when UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi herself waved at Tejpal, when he was leaving the venue shortly after the inauguration ceremony. Tejpal was a member of the audience, and Sonia had waved at him from the podium!

After receiving such gestures - in many occasions - from none other than Ms Gandhi, considered to be one of the most powerful women in the world, could make anyone feel ‘special’. Tejpal was no exception after Tehelka was born in January 2007.

Today the scene is somewhat different. Forget top Congress leaders, even junior party leaders are not ready to extend their help to the beleaguered Tejpal, a rape accused and currently behind bars in Goa.

Tejpal, the Tehelka’s founder-editor was arrested by the Goa police on 30 November after his bail plea, on charges of raping an employee of his company, was rejected by a Goa sessions court.

Sources said, on 19 February, Tiya and Cara, Tejpal’s daughters, went to Shastri Bhawan and met an Officer-on-Special Duty (OSD) of a union minister and requested him to approach urban development and parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath to save their father.

It was learnt that they met the OSD knowing that Nath might be able to help them out since he is reportedly close to the Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar. The OSD, after getting a green signal from his minister, called up Nath and briefed him about the matter. The OSD reportedly told Nath that Tejpal’s daughters want an appointment with him to discuss the issue.

Nath was also told that since he is close to the Goa chief minister, he should be able to help them secure Tejpal’s bail. Sources said Nath, after a patient hearing, expressed his annoyance with the OSD and ‘blatantly’ refused to intervene in the matter.

He also refused to give an appointment to Tejpal’s daughters. Surprisingly, on 23 February, four days after Tejpal’s daughters met the OSD for an appointment with Nath, prison authorities seized a mobile phone during a surprise inspection of the cell in which Tejpal is lodged at the Sada sub-jail in Goa’s Vasco city.

Shoma Chaudhury, the managing editor of Tehelka, and Tejpal had left the organisation in a limbo leaving several employees’ career at stake. No one knows how long Tehelka will manage to survive.
The official owner of the magazine is Trinamool Congress MP KD Singh, who has faced flak from his own party on the matter. The investigation by Goa police was welcomed by many across the nation and what is left of Tehelka today is but a bad name and ironically, it’s only the employees who are suffering because of Tejpal’s ‘alleged’ misdeed.
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