"Whatever has happened, law must take its course. If a person is guilty, he must be punished. If he is not guilty, he must not be punished," Sibal told reporters here. JPN/Agencies
At the same time, he maintained that he is "not going to give judgement like other leaders have done. It is not my job. It sends a very wrong signal."
Amid speculation in media that he is related to Tejpal, the Union Minister said sarcastically, "I have a nephew called Tarun Sibal. So are all the Taruns in this country related to me?"
He rubbished BJP's charge that he was shielding Tejpal and also vehemently denied the contention that he was a shareholder in Tejpal's company.
Sibal said he never applied for the shares and the sum of Rs 5 lakh that he "donated" for Tehelka was his way of "protecting the freedom of expression". He recalled that he had given a cheque of Rs five lakh to Tehelka when Tejpal had come to him seeking help when his venture was facing "persecution" by NDA government.
"He went to several personalities. He came to me also. I did not know him. That was a donation. That had nothing to do with seeking shares. He had asked me for support to start a newspaper...I was protecting the freedom of expression. That is how I am a founder member of Tehelka. But I have never applied for shares," the minister said.
When it was pointed out that documents showed he indeed had shares in Tejpal's company, Sibal said, "Tejpal may have done (it)...I am not concerned with it. The fact is that there is no official allotment of shares to me. There is a law for it. I have to apply for that first and I have never applied for any share."
On being pressed further, he said hypothetically speaking even if he has shares in some company, how could he be held responsible for some wrong doing by any official of the company.
Sushma Swaraj insists Congress backing Tejpal
A day after Sibal blamed BJP leader Sushma Swaraj for drawing his name into the Tarun Tejpal controversy, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha said she never named anyone but the Congress was backing the Tehelka editor-in-chief.
Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday tweeted: "Union Cabinet Minister who is the founder and patron of Tehelka is shielding Tarun Tejpal."
Soon after her comment, Sibal clarified to the media that he had no shares in Tehelka.
Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said, "I did not name Kapil Sibal, why did he choose to give a clarification to the media? I still stand by my allegation, Congress is saving Tejpal."
Sushma Swaraj also condemned her party leader Vijay Jolly for organising a protest in front of the house of Tehelka's managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, who resigned in the morning.
"I will never agree with this method of protest. Both I and Arun Jaitley had told Jolly not to stage such a protest," she said.
"Party president (Rajnath SIngh) will take action against him, but I totally condemn it," she said.
BJP workers led by Jolly on Thursday protested outside Chaudhury's residence, demanding her immediate arrest for allegedly trying to cover up a sexual harassment complaint against Tejpal by a woman journalist.
"Whatever has happened, law must take its course. If a person is guilty, he must be punished. If he is not guilty, he must not be punished," Sibal told reporters here.