Veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani, a minority stakeholder in the company which publishes Tehelka, said he would not defend his longtime friend and founder editor Tarun Tejpal, who is facing charges of sexual assault.
“I am bound by a promise made to my spiritual guru that I would not appear in such cases. It may appear to be an unprofessional statement, but I am helpless,” Jethmalani, a Rajya Sabha MP and former law minister, told HT on Sunday.
Asked why, in that case, he was defending self-styled godman Asaram, who is facing charges of sexual assault, he said, “I don’t have to answer everything you ask me and I will give an explanation where I feel it is appropriate”.
According to information available with the Registrar of Companies, Jethmalani has a 0.08% stake in Anant Media Private Limited, the company which publishes Tehelka. Regarding the stake, Jethmalani said, “I have only given to my friend, never took anything. It all began when he was facing financial trouble 10 years ago and I don’t discuss how I help my friends.”
“It is very unfortunate that Tarun Tejpal is going through all this. I am sad about the whole thing, but perhaps life is like that,” Jethmalani added.