MPC urge BCCL to review its decision of closure and keep a good thing going
Terming the sudden closure of Pune Mirror and Mumbai Mirror newspapers by Time of India Group as illegal, the Mumbai Press Club (MPC) urged the Times of India owners Samir Jain and Vineet Jain to review the decision and accommodate the 100s of retrenched staff into the main group company. Mumbai Press Club pointed out that the annual revenue of Bennett & Coleman Company Limited (BCCL) which is controlling the Times of India Group, controlled by the Jain brothers is having an average annual turnover of more than Rs.12,000 crores (1.5 Billion Dollars) and getting around 30 percent as profit per year. The Press Club pointed out that these huge profits which are earned by the hard work of the staffers and journalists can’t be ignored in the name of COVID-19 pandemic created crisis.
“Among the reasons given for the closure of the newspapers by BCCL is the economic downturn that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in newsprint prices. The BCCL is the largest and most profitable media house in the country with annual revenues of $1.5 billion, and an average of over 30% returns on investment (ROI) in previous years. All businesses have their ups and downs. If you have made good profits, then there are times when you must ride out the losses too. With the easing of the pandemic, one can see the economy and businesses looking up. For a small saving, it is not correct for the company to sacrifice such a powerful city brand and the jobs of so many employees. We urge BCCL to review its decision of closure and keep a good thing going.
Many people in the media sector say that the Ahmedabad Mirror is sold to a Gujarat-based publisher. Journalists accuse Jain brothers of violating many rules by the sudden closure.
“The Mumbai Press Club also expresses its deep concern at the violation of the law and the jobs that are at stake with the closure of these publications. Sections 25(O) and 25(F) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1948 require prior permission of the government before departments and companies are closed, and employees retrenched. No such permission has been sought or taken. Moreover, ‘Mirror’ is a sister concern of the BCCL, and we demand that all the employees of these publications be accommodated in jobs and positions within the organization on the same terms. This is not the time to put employees on the street, and the BCCL must show its leadership by doing business with a human face,” said the Mumbai Press Club in a statement.
While shutting down the Pune Mirror, the Time of India Group said that Mumbai Mirror will be converted into a weekly. According to many journalists, the Mirror newspapers in Mumbai and Pune faced a shortfall of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this is the reason behind the “heartless” decision by the Jain brothers. Meanwhile, Bangalore Mirror and Ahmadabad Mirror are still running. Many people in the media sector say that the Ahmedabad Mirror is sold to a Gujarat-based publisher. Journalists accuse Jain brothers of violating many rules by the sudden closure.
Previous year BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has filed a detailed 26-page complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about more than Rs.25,000 crores tax evasion and money laundering by the Times of India Group controlled by Samir Jain and Vineet Jain. Swamy pointed out that Times of India Group owning firm Bennett and Coleman Company Limited (BCCL) is controlled through eight shell firms, all located in the same address.
All these eight shell firms Bharat Nidhi Ltd, Camac Commercial Company Limited, PNB Finance and Industries Limited, Sahu Jain Limited, Ashoka Marketing Limited, Ashoka Viniyoga Limited, Arth Udyog Limited, Combine Holding Ltd are listed in Stock exchanges. “Bulk of common control and ownership of BCCL and Bennet Property Holding Co Limited (BPHCL) lies with eight companies listed on regional stock exchanges which are non-functional and are referred to as Exclusively Listed Companies (ELCs),” said Swamy, adding that in all these companies the major shareholders are Jain family members with same address of Times of India newspaper. The detailed complaint is published here.
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