Days after agreeing to publish an unconditional apology in a national English newspaper, Tarun Tejpal and Aniruddha Bahal apologised to retired Indian Army official Major General MS Ahluwalia for a Tehelka magazine story.
Published under the Classified section in Hindustan Times’ Delhi edition of 22 January, the 'Public Notice' on Page 11 referred to the 13 March 2001 story which alleged that Ahluwalia received a bribe of Rs 50,000 from reporter Mathew Samuel.
In an "undercover journalistic investigation on corruption in the defence procurement process, Operation Westend... it was indicated that Major-General Ahluwalia had demanded Blue Label whisky and Rs 10 lakh," the apology referred to the incident.
"We clarify that in the meeting in November 2000 at Major-General Ahluwalia’s house, neither did Major-General Ahluwalia ask nor accept a bribe or blue label whisky, and we unconditionally apologise for the error in the transcript /tape," the apology read.
The Delhi High Court in July 2023 ordered the Tehelka Magazine, Tarun Tejpal and two others to pay Rs 2 crore in damages to Ahluwalia in a defamation case. However, the apology has no word on it.
While Tejpal and Bahal told the court that they would be depositing Rs 10 lakhs each, the court has listed the appeal for hearing and disposal in April on the issue of the quantum of damages to be awarded.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!