Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury Resigns
Full text of the email sent by Tehelka Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury to her colleagues
This has been a damaging time for all associated with Tehelka. Since the devastating allegation was first brought to my notice on 18th November, I have taken a series of actions in response to this complaint. To my mind, I acted on instant outrage and solidarity for our colleague as a woman and co-worker.
After the first steps to immediately address her expressed needs, the process of setting up the anti-sexual harassment committee was begun. There were only two days to act on the complaint before the story broke in the press. Post this, things have been misconstrued and have snowballed exponentially in the media, based on half-facts and selective leaks. In the next stage, once the committee was formed, the law would have taken its course according to the findings and recommendations.
Over the past week, I have been accused of an attempt to “cover-up” and for not standing by my feminist positions. While I accept that I could have done many things differently and in a more measured way, I reject the allegations of a cover-up because in no way could the first actions that were taken be deemed suppression of any kind. As for my feminist positions, I believe I acted in consonance with them by giving my colleague’s account precedence over everything else.
However, despite this, as a result of what's transpired over the past few days my integrity has repeatedly been questioned by people from our fraternity and, in fact, by the public at large. I would like to take cognizance of this.
I have worked hard for Tehelka for many years and what we have stood for is very dear to me and I hold it in high esteem. I do not want questions raised about my integrity to tarnish the image of Tehelka, which it has done in the past week.
Therefore, I resign as Managing Editor with immediate effect.
There are many readers and colleagues who have believed in me and expressed their faith through this very difficult time. I am deeply grateful to them.
I will come in to office to close the issue and do the necessary handovers. I cannot express how painful this is for me. It has never been a part of me to give up midway through a challenge. I would have liked to continue at Tehelka to see us through this dark time, but I am no longer sure whether my presence is harming or helping Tehelka.
I deeply regret any inadequacies or lack of clarity I may have displayed in my leadership.
Raj Shekhar in Times of India: Shoma was hysterical during raid at Tehelka: Goa cops:
Sources said managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, who has since resigned, delayed in giving her statement and also became 'hysterical' after police began to make seizures, forcing the cops to stay in the office till 2am...
...Sources said Shoma shouted at the team and tried to stop them when they decided to take away Tejpal's computer (CPU). She even dropped names of some senior politicians and threatened to make calls, an investigator said.
Raman Kirpal reports in the Firstpost: Tehelka business: Murky deals, profits for Tejpal family, Shoma:
it now appears that the Tejpal family and Tehelka’s managing editor Shoma Chaudhury made a killing through a series of doubtful transactions. They sold some of their shares in one of their companies at mind-boggling premiums to a nondescript company, pocketing large gains...
- Shoma Chaudhury was then Editor (Features). Anant Media had allocated 1,500 equity shares to her at a price of Rs 10 each. On 14 June 2006, she sold off 500 shares to AK Gurtu Holdings Private Ltd at a premium of Rs 13,189 per share, thus pocketing Rs 66 lakh (Rs 65,94,500 to be precise). In short, Shoma Chaudhary’s Rs 5,000 investment (a third of her full investment of Rs 15,000 in buying 1,500 shares) brought her Rs 66 lakh in less than three years.
- Tarun Tejpal’s wife Geetan Batra sold off 2,000 equity shares to AK Gurtu at a premium of Rs 13,189, thus getting Rs 2.64 crore.
- Tejpal’s brother Minty Kunwar sold 1,500 shares to AK Gurtu for nearly Rs 2 crore.
- Tejpal’s father Inderjit Tejpal offloaded 1,000 shares to AK Gurtu for Rs 1.32 crore
- Tejpal’s mother Shakuntla too sold 1,000 shares to the same company for Rs 1.32 crore
- Tejpal’s sister and Tehelka’s COO Neena T Sharma sold 432 shares for Rs 57 lakh. Tarun Tejpal did not offload any of his shares. Rather he acquired 4,125 equity shares from two persons, Shankar Sharma and Devina Mehra, at Rs 10 per share on the same day – that is, 14 June 2006. Thus on the same day, Anant Media shares had two different prices – Rs 10 and Rs 13,189 per share!
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