Sun TV Network writes to Home Minister to reconsider security clearance

NEW DELHI: Kalanithi Maran owned Sun TV Network Limited (Sun TV) has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to reconsider his Ministry’s refusal of security clearance to the network, even as it claims that it has still not received any official note from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

An official of the I&B Ministry had told last week that it was the responsibility of that Ministry and not the Home Ministry to inform Sun TV.

A Sun TV spokesperson said that any action that the network may want to take would be based on the text of the communication from the I&B Ministry.

The Home Ministry is said to have taken this decision in the backdrop of the three pending criminal cases being looked into by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), against Maran and his brother and former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Home Ministry sources denied that the decision was based on political considerations.

The network has urged the Home Minister to differentiate between security clearance on grounds of national security and cases linked to financial matters, which are still pending and not proven. It has also raised issues relating to freedom of the media.

Even as the stock market had showed an increase for Sun TV shares late last week when reports appeared about the Home Ministry agreeing to reconsider its decision following a letter by I&B Minister Arun Jaitley, it is learnt that senior officials of the Home Ministry have so far failed to fix a meeting with officials of the Law Ministry in this regard.

It was learnt that some Home Ministry officials were planning to discuss the issue with the Law Ministry and some legal experts and some junior officials had in fact held informal discussions.

It is expected that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi may be consulted on the issue.   

The I&B official had also confirmed that this will affect all 33 television channels of the Network. This may mean cancellation of the broadcasting license. However, the Ministry official said that no decision would be taken in haste.

Sun TV had applied to the I&B for renewing its broadcasting license for 10 years, which also entails getting the required security clearance from the Home Ministry.

Earlier, in April, Jaitley had written to Rajnath Singh to reconsider the denial of security clearance to 40 FM radio stations run by the Sun Network.

Observers in Chennai said the Madras High Court order in September last year commented adversely against the I&B 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.

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