DUBAI: An Indian owner of a Malayalam television station in the UAE and its finance head allegedly fled the country without paying the staff their dues, after they struggled to keep the venture afloat amid mounting losses, according to a media report on Tuesday.
Channel D has launched about two years ago and it operated from its boutique studio in Jumeirah in the UAE.
The channel also had a unit in Kochi, Kerala. The owner and the finance head fled the UAE without paying several months of outstanding salary, the Gulf News reported.
"We had not been paid for months but in the hope of a turnaround the dozen-odd staffers lumbered on. Nobody expected the end to come so soon," an unnamed senior staff of the channel was quoted as saying by the Gulf News.
The TV station's office in Jumeirah remains shut but the channel is still on air.
"They are running repeats of old shows. But even that is likely to stop when their contract with Etisalat expires this month end," he said.
A cameraman, who claims the company owes him seven months salary in arrears, said he was repeatedly assured that their dues would be settled.
"We were told that a new investor has come on board and that he will take care of all our liabilities. We believed them. But now it appears that the company never had any intention to pay us," he said.
Another staffer said that the employees' fingerprint door access control was deactivated in March while telephone lines were disconnected a month earlier.
"These were obvious red flags but we didn't suspect anything amiss because we trusted the owner," said another staffer. The Channel has shut its Kochi unit also, the report said.