Tiranga TV Goes Off Air, Owners Accused Of Non-Payment Of Salaries; All You Need To Know About It

Published : 17 July 2019 11:38 AM GMT
Tiranga TV Goes Off Air, Owners Accused Of Non-Payment Of Salaries; All You Need To Know About ItImage Credit: India Today,Barkha Dutt (Facebook)

Barkha Dutt has allegedly accused Kapil Sibal, senior advocate and channel financier of Tiranga TV and his wife Promila Sibal, director in the company of unceremoniously sacking hundreds of employees, without giving them the promised compensation. She has also complained to the National Commission of Women against Promila Sibal for abusing female employees.

However, all the allegations made by her have been refuted by the Sibals.

Employees Not Paid Salaries

Anchor and journalist Barkha Dutt who has been working with the Channel has accused promoter Kapil Sibal and his wife of cheating journalists and not paying their dues.

The Sibals have come out and made a statement that all the staff members, including Barkha Dutt, have been given their salaries till the end of June. They also claimed that the company has sincerely adhered to the “terms of the contract” in terms of compensation.

On July 15, Barkha Dutt put out a series of tweets attacking the Sibals. She pointed out that many employees left their previous jobs to join Tiranga TV as they were assured of a “professionally run newsroom and a minimum tenure of two years”.

Promila, however, denied the ‘two-year assurance’ and termed it as a ‘blatant lie’. She even challenged Dutt to put up her contract on Twitter to clarify the matter. Promila claimed that Dutt’s contract was “due to expire at the end of September 2019 anyway” and that she was not eligible for any compensation after that.

Dutt Sacked On ‘Disciplinarian Grounds’

Kapil said since Dutt’s services were terminated on July 13, the day on which she had made serious allegations against the Sibals, “she had been terminated on disciplinarian grounds”.

Dutt, however, disputed the claim and said that she was sacked for speaking out in internal emails against the treatment of other employees.

Kapil Sibal told The Wire that all commitments made by the company were honoured. “We have paid salaries for all the employees for June. The employees have been offered a month’s salary as compensation apart from their remaining wages for the current month,” he said.

As Barkha explained in a tweet, paying six-months salary as payout was the industry’s norm in such cases. She wrote on Twitter that a minimum of the three-months wage should be paid to employees if they are terminated.

Channel Financers On A Trip To London

In her tweets, Dutt wrote that she had accused the couple in her mails of fleeing the country to London like liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Defending the purpose of travel, Promila stated that they had “not fled due to any financial reason” but had only gone to celebrate their grandson’s academic success. “And we were there for only a short period,” she added.

Among other allegations, Dutt also criticised the Sibals of misleading the employees and using derogatory language to refer to some, especially female employees.

Sibal’s Meat Business

Promila however, called the charge ‘frivolous’ and said that both husband and wife had not met Dutt since last 3-4 months and there was no mention of such incidents in her mails.

Attacking Promila, Dutt also said that she runs a meat business.

“I did indeed have a successful meat business from 1979 to 2004, but then I gave it up as Kapil Sibal became a minister and he did not want me to carry on with it. I owned the premises after that too, but a well-known company, Allana Group, were running the business. They too shut their operations at my plants last year,” Promila told The Wire.

Barkha later tweeted that bouncers had been sent to Tiranga TV office where employees were demanding a three-month payout.

Financial Challenges Since Launch

After much controversy, Promila told The Wire that the company had been facing a significant financial crunch even before the channel was launched. Some DTH operators refused to give the channel space saying they had no bandwidth to offer. With no advertisers for the channel fearing persecution by the Modi government, financial problems just grew worse.

“In September 2018, we wanted to drop the idea of launching the channel, but Dutt protested saying many journalists and other employees had left their jobs to join us. So we reluctantly decided to go ahead with it,” she said.

Also Read: Tiranga TV Employees Hold Protest Over Termination Without Notice

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