July 2019


It would seem that the closure of Independent TV (ITV) was a foregone conclusion!!

In a scathing article in the Hindi Dainik Jagran newspaper, they have revealed that Independent TV network is promoted by the same promoters of the Garvit Promoter Ltd Group, which in past years had supposedly hacked /laundered crores of rupees in the name of the “Bike-Boat” scheme in the Hindi-belt!

The network which provided cable services, has approximately 90 thousand subscribers in nine districts of Meerut and Saharanpur division. The services provided to subscribers are now shut down. Company owners and officers have switched off their phones. At the same time, the company's super distributors and distributors say that company has accumulated more than ₹ 2 Crores in the form of advances and commissions. They say that they are also being harassed and contacted by consumers' phone calls and complaints.

This company, which provides cable TV services, had bought out the loss making DTH platform, BIG DTH, owned by the Anil Ambani Reliance Group, in July 2018. The company also released a compelling plan to provide one year service to subscribers, on an advance payment of ₹ 2,250.

In the districts of Meerut and Saharanpur, the company has a super Distributor named “Dream Trade” and 26 other local Distributors. Dream Trade's owner Gaurav Tandon has alleged that the company is also affiliated to the Bike Boat Company Group, the Garvit Promoter Limited Group. Meerut district has more than 10 thousand consumers. The network was running fine for first six months. After that, it started repeatedly having problems. Subscribers complained, unfortunately, he claims, the company showed lack of interest to solve the complaints.

Police, TRAI and company affairs say that they will lodge a complaint: Mr. Gaurav Tandon, told the reporter that the subscribers of ITV are continuously calling his office due to the closure of the network. “Apart from the company's director Sachin Bhati, we are making repeated calls to the company senior managers and directors, Mohammed Sayan, Arif, Vivek Singh, Ashurani” he says, “but the phones are switched off. Sanjay Bhatti's number is also switched off.”

The group companies of the promoters of the ITV DTH are Garvit Innovator Promoter Ltd, Primakes Broadcast Private Limited, Primakes Plastic Private Limited, Garvit Broadcast Media Pvt Ltd, Independent Limited, Snow Touch Resort.

In another development on 17th June, Antrix Corporation, who leases the transponder capacity to Independent TV for its DTH operations, shut down their services for non payment of over ₹ 9 crore pending as dues.

Independent TV has sent a message to its subscribers that they would resume services after 22nd June’19, however, no confirmation has been received so afr at time of going to press, if they had paid the transponder rentals to Antrix Corporation.

Previously, TDSAT had given them until 12th June to pay the outstanding amounts, which did not happen. TDSAT has also given Antrix permission to encash ITV’s bank guarantees for recovery of the outstanding amounts if this payment was not done within the time frame.

By all accounts, unless ITV is able to infuse some large capital amounts into the business, it may close the chapter on this DTH platform. n