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Sun TV may approach Court on issue of security clearance, Centre moves new case against Kal Cables

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NEW DELHI: Amid reports that Sun TV Group may be compelled to approach Courts of law following the view of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that it should not have been denied security clearance, it is understood that the Home Ministry has again approached the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) for its viewpoint before giving a final order.

Reacting to this, a Sun TV official told indiantelevision.com, “Our consistent view has been that the TV and radio broadcast business of Sun TV Network Ltd cannot be put in any jeopardy on the ground that the promoter is facing charges in another case. Till such time the case is decided, the cardinal principle of presumed innocent till pronounced guilty shall apply. Any deviation from this time honoured tradition of law will be a violation of natural justice.”

Asked about moving the courts, the spokesperson said: “Considering that our stand has been vindicated by the Attorney General, we hope that all clearances will be restored and we will not be compelled to seek any legal remedies. We wait to hear more from the government authorities.”

Meanwhile the PMO office, reportedly has also decided to stay with the Home Ministries decision to deny security clearance to the 33 channels under Sun TV Network. 

The network has still not received anything in writing from either the I&B nor the Home Ministries. Furthermore, the uncertainty is affecting the position of the Group in the stock market.

Sun TV Network with 33 TV and around 40 radio channels is one of the largest media groups in the country with a reach to more than 95 million households in the country.

Home Ministry officials say their investigation shows serious charges of money laundering against Kalanithi Maran, the owner of Sun TV Network.

Home Ministry officials made it clear that neither the Ministry nor Home Minister Rajnath Singh will directly reply to the letter from Maran.

Rohatgi is of the view that there is a difference between corruption charges and national security as neither the owner nor the Network was a threat to the nation's security. The opinion was given after the I&B Ministry had sought his opinion on the matter even as the Law Ministry failed to take a decision.

Rohatgi had said that mere filing of criminal charges in economic offences, in which trial courts were yet to frame charges against the accused, could not be a ground to infer that they had posed threat to national security because of the alleged offences. 

It is also learnt that though it had been castigated in September last year for encroaching on the freedom of the media, the I and B Ministry has moved the Madras High Court against quashing of its order cancelling the multi-system operator's licence. The matter has been listed befor the High Court on 1 July.

Justice V Ramasubramanian of the High Court in September had quashed the cancellation on the ground that no show-cause notice had been issued to the company. 

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