Can Tehelka face the fiasco brought upon it by its creator?
Tehelka was on the way of introducing a new investor in the company when the sexulal assault scandal hit the news headlines and its high-status editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, a person aware with the progress said.
However, the identity of the new investor and the terms of their investment could not be confirmed by us. This disclosure comes even as the future of the magazine appears dark, with its editor facing a criminal charge, managing editor and key employees resigning, advertisers cautious and the brand destroyed.
Reportedly, Alchemist Group founder and Trinamool Congress MP Kanwar Deep Singh, whose companies are the largest shareholders in Tehelka publisher Anant Media, said the magazine’s future appeared gloomy to him.
On Thursday, the Goa Police advanced a sessions court demanding a non-bailable arrest warrant against Tejpal, refusing his appeal to allow two more days to appear before the agency on charges of sexually assaulting a woman co-worker during an event in Goa.
The magazine’s managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, who found herself to be turning into a punching bag hit by criticism on social media and news channel debates for her manner of dealing with the case, resigned.
As the case moved down into an inclined political fight overflowing into the streets, for the employees, readers, advertisers and other stakeholders in the magazine, one question surfaced – can Tehelka face the fiasco brought upon it by its creator?
The magazine has lost its crucial members, the confidence of the existing employees is hit hard, the image of its sophisticated editor-in-chief lies in rags, and the controversy surrounding its shady funding has emphasized discrepancies in what the magazine claims to be and what it follows.
According to reports, Tehelka’s owner Anant Media has incurred losses for three successive fiscals till 2011-12. For the 2012 fiscal, the most recent period for which financials have been filed, it posted a loss of Rs 10.5 crore, down from Rs 16 crore in the prior fiscal.
The profits from the first Think festival, a glamorous event the company organized in Goa, seem to have facilitates slashing down the losses. In their report associated to the 2012 balance sheet, the directors called the event ‘a mega hit’. The next year, though, the festival was shifted to Thinkworks Pvt Ltd, a company privately owned by Anant Media and shareholders were Tarun Tejpal, his sister Neena Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury.
The well-networked Tejpal was the pushing hard to get remarkable speakers and getting corporate sponsors to support the festival. Facing criminal charges and a fast-tracked trial in Goa, Tejpal will not be able to handle on the business for a while now.
The magazine’s business part is handled by Tejpal’s sister Neena Tejpal, who will also be busy with the legal matters and damage control necessary to keep the magazine running.
Till now, there has been no statement made by Neena Tejpal. At the same time, Alchemist Group’s Singh said his companies have by now divested part of their stake in the publisher of Tehelka.