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Delhi HC quashes denial of security clearance to Sun, allows Red FM in Phase III auctions

MUMBAI: Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun Group has won a major battle. In a special sitting on Sunday, the Delhi High Court quashed the government’s denial of security clearance to the Sun Group as well as rejection of permission to Digital Radio Broadcasting to take part in the first batch of FM Phase III auctions.

The court order came as a major relief for petitioner Delhi Radio Broadcasting, which operates Red FM in Mumbai and Delhi, as it clears the way for it to participate in the e-auctions, unconditionally.

The High Court bench headed by Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva ordered, “We quash the decision communicated by letter dated 15 July, 2015, denying security clearance. The petitioners [Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd of Delhi and Mumbai] will be entitled to participate in the e-auction subject to fulfilment of the other conditions.”

The court held a special sitting after the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting pleaded its inability to postpone the auctions. It will issue the reasons for its order later.

Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had denied security clearance to Maran-owned Sun Group, as both Kalanithi and Dayanidhi Maran are being prosecuted in cases related to money laundering.

Later in separate batches of petitions, Sun Group moved the Madras High Court and Delhi High Court.

Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd, in which Kalanithi Maran owns 21.6 per cent indirect holding, argued in the court that Dayanidhi Maran is not connected with the company at all.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has given the three remaining Sun Group radio companies, Kal Radio, South Asia FM Ltd and Sun TV, conditional permission to participate in the auctions.

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