Sibal meets Tiranga TV staff post-Barkha tweetstorm

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Monday met department heads of the HTN Tiranga TV channel at his residence to resolve the issue of pending salaries of 200 employees, after journalist Barkha Dutt opened a scathing attack against Sibal and his wife on Twitter.

The outcome of the meeting was not yet disclosed but sources told IANS meeting deliberated on the pending demands of the journalists in the face of heavy retrenchment currently going on at the channel.

Employees told IANS on the condition of anonymity that 40-50 workers have already been asked to leave, with one month extra salary.

‘However, in the case of those still working, our demand is six-month pay out in case the channel completely shuts operations. The live recordings have been stopped and only 1-2 bulletins are currently on,” employees told IANS.

Most of the employees are frantically looking for jobs.

No official statement from either Sibal or his wife was issued on the matter.

Earlier, in a tweetstorm, Dutt who is one of the senior channel executives accused Sibal and his wife of not paying 200 employees at their venture HTN Tiranga TV channel, including threatening her with defamation for supporting the staff.

HTN, originally known as Harvest TV Network, went live on January 26 this year. Later, the name was changed to HTN Tiranga TV.

“An appalling situation in @NewsHtn promoted by @KapilSibal & his wife, where more than 200 employees have had equipment confiscated and face sackings without even a 6 month pay out. Man who acts holier than though in public has treated journalists in a hideous way,” Dutt tweeted.

“Most people here, gave up other offers or left jobs on an assurance from @KapilSibal of a professionally run newsroom and a minimum tenure of 2 years. Neither husband nor wife have even showed up to talk to staff. But all live programming has been cancelled for 48 hrs,” she continued.

Dutt said that for fighting for rights of staff, she has been threatened with defamation and ordered to “withdraw my emails” comparing @KapilSibal to Vijay Mallya.

“I have refused. I support the staff of @NewsHtn and will help them fight this legally, with a criminal case and complain,” she said.

“Wife, who ran a meat factory, says loudly in the workplace, ‘I shut down factory withut giving a paisa to labour, who are these journalists to ask for 6 months salary.’ Her labour should have been paid better, but her disparaing remarks of journalists is sickening,” the journalist lamented.

She urged friends in the media fraternity and everyone with a voice to tweet @KapilSibal till he pays employees.

“Am told @KapilSibal & wife wanted to use Modi as excuse to sack staff saying Modi didnt let channel run. But to be absolutely blunt. GOI has done nothing. Husband and wife have not faced staff, went on holiday to london, while shutting shop, prompting me to call him Mallya,” tweeted Dutt.

–IANS

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