Tehelka is an Indian news organisation mainly known for its investigative journalism, which involved sting operations. It was founded by Tarun Tejpal along with Bahal in 2000 as a website. The agency began issuing tabloid newspapers in 2004 and changed it to a magazine from 2007. Its first operation was on match fixing in cricket in 2000 and the second, which was its most widely known, was “Operation West End” in 2001. West End involved publicly releasing secretly filmed footage of government officials accepting bribes in a fake arms deal, which caused the resignations of several officials including the Defence Minister and two presidents of the ruling parties. The agency got the press and public support for this sting and influenced the use of “sting journalism” in the country’s mainstream media, which led to the debate about the its ethics. In November 2013, Tejpal stepped aside as the editor for six months with an apology after a woman colleague accused him of sexual assault.
After Operation West End, the organisation alleged that the government was trying to shut them down by tax raids, investigations and cases against them; a financial backer and one reporter were jailed and eventually, the website shut down in 2003. A year later, the journalists relaunched it and introduced it as a weekly newspaper because of public funding. In 2004, they did a report against members of the Bajrang Dal for their role in the Naroda Patiya massacre during the 2002 Gujarat violence. It has been criticised for its investigative journalism, accused of agenda-driven journalism and siding the Congress party of India, because of the organisation’s operations mainly focusing on its main political rival, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). It won the International Press Institute (IPI) India Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2010 and 2011.