Senior journalist Barkha Dutt on July 15 lashed out at Congress leader Kapil Sibal, stating that he has treated journalists "in a hideous way".
Stating that over 200 employees at the Noida-based HTN Tiranga TV, promoted by Sibal and his wife, have had "their equipment confiscated and face sackings without even a 6 month pay out", Dutt, in a series of tweets, said the situation at the channel was "appalling".
Dutt said a number of people had given up offers or left their jobs "on assurance from Kapil Sibal of a professionally run newsroom and a minimum tenure of 2 years". However, according to Dutt, "Neither husband nor wife have even showed up to talk to staff. But all live programming has been cancelled for 48 hrs.."
"What is most shameful is that Kapil Sibal earns crores every day and wont pay 200 employees the industry norm of 6 months or at least 3 months pay out, ruining the lives of 200 plus people," Dutt wrote.
The senior journalist also alleged that Sibal and his wife wanted to use Prime Minister Narendra Modi "as an excuse" to sack staff because he did not let the channel run.
"But to be absolutely blunt. Government of India (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 (sic)," Dutt tweeted, referring to fugitive offender Vijay Mallya.
Dutt also alleged that she has been threatened with defamation and also been "ordered to withdraw" her emails comparing Sibal to Mallya.
"I have refused (to withdraw the emails). I support the staff of HTN Tiranga TV and will help them fight this legally, with a criminal case and complain," Dutt said.
The journalist also accused Sibal's wife of verbally abusing female staffers of the channel, and stated that the case is fit for the National Commission for Women (NCW). "We will place signed affidavits to prove our case," Dutt said.