Cable TV

Madras HC admits PIL against minister Dayanidhi Maran

MUMBAI: The Madras HC has admitted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which accuses the Union minister of communications and information technology Dayanidhi Maran for releasing advertisements worth Rs 100 million to the family-owned Sun TV Network.

According to a Times of India report, justices M Karpagavinayagam and A R Ramalingam on 9 March admitted a writ petition on the case that would come up for hearing before the chief justice on 13 March. The PIL, filed by J Veparasu, accuses Maran of abusing the office of the Union minister.

Veparasu, in the PIL, has sought an HC direction for a CBI investigation into all transactions since May 2004, when Maran assumed the office as Union minister. He has also sought an interim injunction restraining Maran's ministry from releasing any advertisement to Sun TV Group channels and publications till his PIL is disposed.

The Chennai-headquartered Sun TV group, which has 15 television channels, four print publications and two radio channels, is owned by Maran's elder brother Kalanithi Maran.

The crux of the petition is that, though there are many private producers who telecast their programmes on the Sun group channels, Maran has not released even a single advertisement to their programmes. The petitioner alleges that the advertisements went exclusively to programmes telecast and produced by Kalanithi Maran.

Maran, now under fire for committing breach of oath under Schedule III of the Constitution, has also been accused of neglecting government-owned channels when it came to advertisement support.

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