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MHA yet to give security clearance to Sun Group’s FM radio stations

NEW DELHI: Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun Group could be in for further trouble. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has refused to give security clearance to the group’s cable TV and FM radio stations, despite the Information & Broadcasting ministry requesting it to review its decision.

In the case of the cable TV business, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) had cancelled the licence of Kal Cables (SCV) due to denial of security clearance by the MHA. But the Madras High Court set aside this order and asked the MIB to file a fresh notice. This means that Kal Cables can continue to operate.

However, in the case of radio, the status quo won’t be possible as Sun TV Network’s radio outfits will need the MHA’s security clearance for migration to renew the licences of its radio channels from Phase II to Phase III. The Madras High Court granted relief to Sun’s Suryan FM till 16 June. The radio company had filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking interim relief after its business licence expired.

Even after I&B minister Arun Jaitley reportedly writing to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to review the decision, the matter hasn’t eased. With the CBI and Enforcement Directorate filing criminal cases against the Maran brothers (Dayanidhi Maran was earlier telecom minister), two home ministry officials told the Economic Times that the denial of security clearance to nearly 50 FM channels of the group was a decision taken on “security considerations” and therefore not being “reconsidered” so far. Sun TV Network operates several radio stations under the Suryan FM and Red FM brands and had sought licence renewals from the I&B ministry.

Singh has not replied to Jaitley’s letter so far and nor has he until now instructed officials in the ministry to reconsider the matter, ET has reported.

“Reasons are not cited while denying security clearance. A reply will be communicated to the I&B ministry in due course explaining that three ongoing cases against Kalanithi Maran and Sun TV are why the security clearance was denied. It is a matter of security,” one home ministry official told ET. The official added that the ministry had depended on inputs on the ongoing cases from CBI and ED to deny the security clearance.

The CBI has charged the Maran brothers and Sun TV in the Aircel-Maxus case.

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