MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 27/11/2013 1
The 2011 director’s report of Anant Media, publisher of Tehelka, claimed credit for THiNK Fest, the annual Goa jamboree in 2011. But next year, this highly profitable event came under the control of Tarun Tejpal-controlled ThinkWorks but no consideration seems to have been paid to Anant Media
THiNK Fest, the big annual event that has mired into a big controversy after Tehelka’s editor Tarun Tejpal allegedly sexually assaulted a woman journalist from his magazine during the event, is claimed by Tehelka owners to be a product of ThinkWorks Pvt Ltd and not Anant Media Pvt Ltd, which owns the magazine. However, the directors’ report of Anant Media in 2011-12 (the latest available) claims great success for THiNK Fest in 2011. The directors’ report of Anant Media of that year says: “The company organised a mega event at Goa THiNK Fest 2011, which was a mega hit in the year 2011.” Anant Media is the owner of Tehelka.
According to a report in the Indian Express, THiNK Fest is organised by ThinkWorks, which is owned by Tarun Tejpal, his sister Neena Sharma (who signed as Neena Tejpal in the ThinkWorks directors report) and the Tehelka magazine‘s managing editor Shoma (Suparna) Chaudhary. “The only association of Thinkworks with Anant Media Pvt Ltd, which publishes Tehelka, is that it buys advertisement space from the magazine, though the sponsors said their understanding was that THiNK Fest was organised by Tehelka magazine,” the report says.
So, when the highly successful property THiNK Fest come under by control of ThinkWorks?
Going by the directors’ report, the event was owned by Tehelka, at least till 2011. If so, Tarun Tejpal, his sister Neena Sharma along with Shoma Chaudhary acquired control of this highly successful event the very next year. In 2012, ThinkWorks was a shell company, and was earlier called Babbler Brooks Pvt Ltd. In 2012-13, ThinkWorks earned Rs14.26 crore as revenues from the event and just under Rs2 crore as profit. This year’s event was even bigger and more profitable. There is not only no evidence that Anant Media, owner of Tehelka was paid any consideration to pass on the THiNK Fest property to ThinkWorks, but also no cost or revenue-sharing with Anant Media.
Interestingly, while Tehelka and Anant Media are trying hard to align themselves from the THiNK Fest (due to the controversy) their respective logos still shows the ‘crow’ in high esteem!
Even, on the THiNK Fest website, if one wants to read any article, it redirects to Tehelka portal showing the connection between the two.
Subsequent to the revelation that THiNK Fest is not a Tehelka event, critics have asked if THiNK Fest is owned by a separate firm, then why were Tehelka magazine staffers forced to work in it, leading to the alleged sexual assault on a woman journalist by Tejpal.
The alleged incident happened in a lift in a five-star hotel in Goa earlier this month. The Goa police had on 22nd November lodged an FIR against Tarun Tejpal under sections 376 (rape), 376 (2)(k) (rape by a person of a woman in his custody taking advantage of his official position) and 354 (outraging modesty) of IPC in connection with the incident. Conviction under section 376 of IPC entails a maximum of life term in jail.
According to another report from Indian Express, Tarun Tejpal had joined hands with controversial liquor baron Ponty Chadha before he was killed last year to start an exclusive private club for “select urban Indians” called Prufrock.
Officials in Wave Industries, the flagship company of the Chadha Group, told the newspaper that Chadha decided to invest in Prufrock in early 2012 after Tejpal made a business presentation on the concept of an exclusive private club.
Chadha was killed in a shootout in his farmhouse in Delhi in November 2012, but his son Manpreet ‘Monty’ Chadha decided to honour all business commitments of his father, the report says.
Prufrock, the private club, is owned by Thriving Arts Pvt Ltd, which was set up in June 2013. On 10th July, the company issued shares to two stakeholders at Rs10 per share — 72% to Tejpal and 28% to his sister Neena Tejpal.
On 26th August, Chadha Hotel’s Pvt Ltd invested Rs2 crore for 11,111 shares issued at Rs1,800 per share in the venture, the news report says.