I&B shoots off another set of queries on Star News

NEW DELHI: The information and broadcasting ministry has sent off another set of queries to Media Content & Communication Services India Pvt. Ltd (MCCS), which has sought government okay for uplinking news content for Star News.

The present set of questions sent today, according to government officials, revolve around knowing what the three web companies that have been mentioned in Star News' reply to the government yesterday do. The three companies include Touch Telecontent, Hughes Electronics and Rentworks Ltd.

According to a government official, MCCS has been asked to explain the investments that have been made by each shareholder in the company in the context of the narrow equity base that MCCS has.

The government has also asked MCCS to explain the ways in which the operational expenses of some of the companies mentioned in the reply (like Touch Telecontent) are met.

A government official said that the government is not clear whether the largest shareholder of MCCS (in this case ad man Suhel Seth) is the owner of the company or not. "So we have asked them to explain who is the owner of MCCS that is actually responsible for carrying out vital functions of Star News," a senior government official said.

The government has also questioned a submission by MCCS that in the last three months Star News has mopped up revenue of around Rs 220 million. MCCS has been asked to explain the way this has been done, the government official said.

The Press Trust of India, quoted Star officials as saying, "the government sought some more clarifications today when Kaushal (company official Kaushal Dalal) met I&B officials but he didn't have all the answers so we will submit our replies by Friday."

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