I don't own any stake with Tehelka publishers, says Kapil Sibal, donor to Tehelka

Kapil SIbalThe donation was my commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of press, said SIbal. (PTI)

Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal told The Sunday Express that he does not own any stake in Anant Media Private Ltd that publishes Tehelka magazine. According to the documents available with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), Sibal owns 80 shares, adding up to 0.04 per cent stake in the company.

"I don't have any stake in Tehelka," said Sibal. In 2003, he did, however, make a donation of Rs 5 lakh to Tehelka's founder and editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal when he was starting Tehelka's print edition.

"When Tarun approached me for help in 2003, I was a lawyer at that time... I helped him. I gave a donation of Rs 5 lakh in 2003. I did not apply for shares, nor am I given any share allotment," said Sibal.

"The donation was my commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of press... After they lost everything following the witch hunt of the BJP-led government for exposing corruption," he said.

This was after news portal tehelka.com's sting operation against then BJP president Bangaru Laxman and the NDA government.

From 2005-06 onwards, for which the balance sheet of Anant Media is available, Sibal owned 80 shares and held 0.08 per cent stake till 2010-11. After fresh equity infusion in 2011-12, his stake in the company dipped to 0.04 per cent, while the number of shares remained the same.

"The misinformation doing the rounds is both false and motivated. Tarun Tejpal is not my nephew," said Sibal. Tejpal and his family members own 19 per cent stake in Tehelka, while 65 per cent stake is held by K D Singh, industrialist and Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member, through direct and indirect holdings. Singh could not be contacted for comment.

His party colleague and Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien, who had earlier tweeted that Singh does not own any stake in Tehelka, said, "I only quoted K D Singh who told me he has no equity as on October 2013. All that matters is the case of sexual assault and we need the guilty to be punished."

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