Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has claimed that senior journalist Barkha Dutt was sacked from Tiranga TV on 13th July two days before her sensational tweets on the Sibals. The Sibals, who are promoters of Tiranga TV have claimed that Barkha was fired on 13th July on ‘disciplinary grounds’ after she ‘levelled serious allegations’ against them. Kapil Sibal has reportedly said that since Dutt’s contract was terminated on 13th July on ‘disciplinary grounds’, she is not entitled to any further compensation.
Promila Sibal, Kapil Sibal’s wife and one of the promoters of the channel, said that Dutt’s contract was for a year and was due to expire in September 2019 and she was not entitled to any compensation beyond that. Dutt, however, had claimed that she was fired for speaking about the internal emails where she compared Sibals with Mallya for not facing the staff and going on a holiday to London instead.
Promila, however, refuted the claims and said that they were in London to ‘celebrate their grandson’s academic success’ and had not fled due to financial reason. She has even denied the allegations that the Sibals would use abusive language for female employees, calling them ‘kutiya’ or ‘bitch’. Calling the allegation ‘frivolous’, Promila said that neither she nor Kapil had met Barkha in last 3-4 months. Kapil Sibal, too, chimed in saying that Barkha wrote the accusation ‘as an afterthought’.
In fact, the Sibals have now put the blame of financial troubles of the channel on Barkha. They claim that they were hesitant to launch the channel but ‘reluctantly decided to go ahead with it’ after Dutt protested saying how many journalists had joined the channel giving up their current jobs. As Barkha had predicted, the Sibals also blamed the newly elected Narendra Modi government for the advertisers to back off. Lack of advertising revenues led to deepening of their financial troubles, they claim.
Barkha, on the other hand, has alleged that Kapil Sibal is ‘lying again’. She has claimed that her contract requires the Sibals to pay her a year’s salary if the channel shuts or terminates before. Dutt says that Sibal’s claims regarding her contract are patently false. “Contract clearly stipulates that if channel shuts before the year or even contract terminated, remaining period of a year to be paid. Sibal lies again,” she tweeted.
Tiranga TV’s sacked employees have been narrating their situation on social media for the last couple of weeks. However, things came out in the open after Barkha Dutt, in a series of tweets on 15th July, revealed how dire the situation with Tiranga TV is. She had confirmed that about 200 employees of the channel were sacked without adequate compensation. She had also revealed that Kapil Sibal and his wife had planned to blame Modi for the crisis at the channel, and added that there was no interference in the channel from the union government. Later that night, bouncers were sent to Tiranga TV’s office to intimidate the protesting employees.