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Sun TV denies receiving official memo from MHA; shares crash on bourses

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NEW DELHI: Kalanithi Maran owned Sun TV Network Limited (Sun TV) today said that it had not received any information from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) or the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) about rejection of security clearance to its television channels.

Shares of Sun TV crashed over 25 per cent on Monday, 8 June, 2015, as compared to the previous closing price on Friday, amid reports that the network’s 33 television channels may be taken off air by the MHA over security clearance.

When contacted by Indiantelevision.com, a Sun TV spokesperson declined to comment on the rejection of security clearance as the network was still waiting for an official report.

Reacting to the reports, Sun TV clarified on the bourses stating, “We wish to state that no communication has been received by the Company in this regard from any Ministry and all our Channels continue to be on air.”

On the other hand, an MIB official confirmed to this website that the Home Ministry had indeed denied security clearance to Sun TV Network as a whole and that the decision would be conveyed to the network by the MIB and not the MHA.

The MIB official also confirmed that this will affect all 33 television channels of the Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Network. This may mean cancellation of the broadcasting licence. However, the Ministry official said that no decision would be taken in haste.

Sun TV had applied to the MIB for renewing its broadcasting licence for 10 years, which also entails getting the required security clearance from the Home 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.

Sun TV Network may approach the courts to get interim relief. However, no reply has been received from the Home Ministry so far.

This is the second big blow for the Maran led company this year. It may be recalled that earlier in April, MIB minister Arun Jaitley had written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to reconsider the denial of security clearance to 40 FM radio stations run by the Sun Network. 

Sun TV shares (face value of Rs 5 each) opened lower today on the BSE at Rs 320.75 each as compared to the closing price of Rs 356.35 each and opened on the NSE today at Rs 320.80 each as compared to the closing rate of Rs 356.40 each. At the close of trading today, Sun TV shares closed at Rs 279.60 (down 76.75, -21.54 per cent) on the BSE and at Rs 278.65 (down Rs 77.75, -21.83 per cent) on the NSE. 

On the BSE, Monday's Low was Rs 258, whereas the High was recorded at Rs 320.75. On the NSE, Sun TV’s Low stood at Rs 257.45, where the scrip touched a High of Rs 320.80. The stock price breached the previous 52 week low on both the BSE and the NSE, also breached the lower circuit price of Rs 302.90 on both the bourses.

The Sun TV Network is one of India’s largest media groups whose TV channels reach more than 95 million households across the country.

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