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Decide on security clearance status of Red FM, HC tells Centre

NEW DELHI: Kalanithi Maran-controlled radio station Red FM still waits in the wings to know its fate. The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to bring forward its decision on security clearance of Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd, the operator of Red FM in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, so that it can migrate from Phase II to Phase III.

The high court’s direction was issued to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) told Justice J R Midha that it had received a letter from MHA seeking some clarifications on the issue and that it had sent the necessary details in reply to it, according to a PTI report. The MIB sought 2–3 weeks time to communicate the MHA’s decision after which the court listed the matter for directions on 29 April.

Earlier on 4 March the court had asked the MHA to take a decision on security clearance within two weeks.

The media company had approached the court after it was denied licence renewal and subsequent migration into Phase III.

It may be recalled that on 15 July 2015 the MHA had denied security clearance to Red FM in view of promoter Kalanithi Maran and his brother Dayanidhi being prosecuted in money laundering cases.

On 26 July, the high court permitted the company to participate in the Phase III auctions. But the MIB did not allow the radio station to migrate to Phase III due to denial of security clearance from the MHA.

In an interim order last September, the court had extended the radio channel’s licence to operate in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata under Phase II until further orders in its plea seeking direction to the Centre to allow it to migrate to Phase III.