Regulators

Madras HC dismisses Marans' plea; I&B asks MHA to clarify on security nod denial

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NEW DELHI: The Madras High Court has dismissed petitions by Sun TV and Kal Comm Pvt. Ltd. seeking stay on the attachment of its assets by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with Aircel-Maxis case.

Justice M. Sathyanarayanan said the Supreme Court was monitoring the case and the High Court was not inclined to entertain the petitions.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that in reply to a letter from the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry seeking clarifications on rejection of security clearance to Sun TV, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reiterated its position. The I&B Ministry is understood to have highlighted the issue relating to freedom of the media.

That apart, the I&B Ministry may be writing again, pointing to the Madras High Court order of September last year, which had commented strongly against the Ministry for cancelling the multi system operator (MSO) license to Sun TV Network’s subsidiary Kal Cables. The observation had come in a case relating to denial of security clearance as the Maran brothers were facing criminal cases.

As was reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, the refusal to grant a license could result in the closure of 33 channels of the group, FM channels and print outlets.

During the hearing of the case today, the senior counsel appearing for the petitioner contended that the properties were acquired much before the investigating agencies commenced their probe into the Aircel-Maxis case and questioned why properties of other firms accused in the case have not been attached.

Additional Solicitor General G. Rajagopalan contended that the Supreme Court was monitoring the developments in the case and had also observed that any other court hearing the matter would impede the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED.

Following the attachment of two of its properties by the ED on 31 March, Sun TV and Kal Comm Pvt. Ltd. moved the Madras High Court seeking to quash the order. The ED had earlier questioned the maintainability of the petitions in view of the Supreme Court’s directions in the case.

The Supreme Court in a blanket order of 10 February, 2011 and 11 April, 2011 restricted any court from entertaining petitions in the matter. 

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