MUMBAI: For Sun TV Network founder-promoter Kalanithi Maran, dark clouds seem to be passing away. Not only has the Special CBI court acquitted him and his brother Dayanidhi Maran in the Aircel-Maxis case but also Sun Group’s cable TV outfit has got a provisional licence from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
The MIB has withdrawn its cancellation order and issued a fresh pan-India provisional multi-system operator (MSO) licence to Sun Group-owned Kal Cables.
The new provisional registration was granted on 13 January.
In fact, the MIB granted 51 provisional and one permanent licence between 5 January and 13 February.
It is pertinent to note that the ministry had awarded two licences, one permanent and one provisional, to Kal for Chennai metropolitan area and digital addressable system (DAS) Phase II areas.
The permanent licence for the Chennai metropolitan area was issued on 19 June 2012 while the provisional one was given on 7 March 2013 for Phase II cites.
Both registrations were cancelled on 20 August 2014 due to denial of security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
However, on 5 September 2014, the Madras High Court set aside the cancellation orders issued by the ministry. The MHA’s appeal against the single bench’s order was also set aside by the high court.
The MIB’s latest decision comes close on the heels of the Special CBI court acquitting Kalanithi Maran and Dayanidhi Maran in the Aircel–Maxis case.
Besides Kal, 50 other MSOs from across India have received provisional registration. The ministry has also given one permanent registration after a gap of almost one year.
Mumbai-based Future Digital Infotainment has got a permanent registration to operate anywhere in India.
It must be noted that registered MSOs are allowed to operate anywhere in India, as per an order dated 27 January.
The MIB has been issuing provisional registrations since June 2015. This is because issuing permanent registrations was consuming a lot of time as it required security clearance from the MHA. Due to the large number of MSO applications, the MHA was finding it difficult to clear these applications quickly. With the deadline for Phase III and IV looming large, the MIB decided to move to the provisional mode of registration as it does not require security clearance.
The Sun Group, which has interests in TV, radio, DTH and cable TV, has been at the receiving end of the BJP-led NDA government. The MHA had denied security clearance to Sun Group’s TV channels and FM radio stations. However, the MIB did not cancel the registrations of the company’s TV and radio channels due to difference of opinion with the MHA.
As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, the MIB issued 71 provisional digital addressable system (DAS) licences between 5 December and 4 January. This made it the biggest grant of licences at one go in a month since the MIB started awarding DAS licences.
Among the 71 licensees, eight received pan-India licences including Hathway Cable & Datacom’s wholly owned subsidiary Bhopal-based Hathway Datacom Central.
Other entities that received pan-India licences include Rajesh Fun Square, Superhits Digital Technologies, Ozone Media Comm, Aeon Communication, Juber Cable Network, Nucast Media, and Garvit Digital Services.
DEN Networks’ indirectly wholly owned subsidiary DEN ABC Cable Network Ambarnath also received provisional registration for Thane, Raigad and other districts in Maharashtra under DAS Phases III and IV.