New Delhi: Senior journalist Barkha Dutt has moved the Patiala House Courts against Congress leader Kapil Sibal and his wife Promila Sibal, and their company Analog Media Private Limited, demanding damages of over Rs 74 lakh with interest, after the sudden shutting down of the English news channel Tiranga TV in July.
Represented by advocates Raghav Awasthi and Mukesh Sharma, Dutt has claimed in her plea that she was assured that the channel would continue to function for at least two years. She was also allegedly asked to terminate her contracts with other platforms when the channel was eventually put on air.
Dutt has further claimed that while she was told that the channel would launch by 12 November, the eventual on-air launch took place only on 26 January. She has alleged that the delay was primarily because the team hired to start the channel was “constantly rejigged in an arbitrary and capricious fashion”.
Her plea, accessed by ThePrint, points out that according to her year-long contract, she should’ve been compensated with full salary for the time period that remained of the one year from the formal launch of the channel.
Calculating the amount owed to her, including her pending salary, remuneration for extra work and compensation for breach of contract, she has demanded an amount of Rs 74,02,140, at 18 per cent interest.
The matter came up before the court on 27 September, when judge Ravinder Bedi issued a notice against the company and Promila. However, summons were not issued against Kapil Sibal, with the judge noting that neither was his signature on the contract between Dutt and Analog, nor was he a director in the company.
The case will be heard next on 9 January.
TV channel that shut in six months
Tiranga TV employees were contracted by Analog Media Pvt Ltd, which was incorporated on 10 September 2017. The company was responsible for digital content as well as the shows broadcast on Tiranga TV.
The Sibals are promoters of Analog Media Pvt Ltd; Promila is also a director of the company.
The channel had shut shop in July, within six months of its launch, triggering protests from its sacked employees.
Soon after, Dutt had taken to Twitter, accusing the channel of sacking over 200 employees without due process and compensation.
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
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) July 15, 2019
Dutt had also approached the National Commission of Women, accusing Promila of abusing woman staff members of the channel.
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