Home ministry denies security clearance to Sun TV: report

Kalanithi MaranThe union home ministry is reported to have denied security clearance to Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Network, in a move that would cancel the broadcasting rights of its 33 regional television channels.

The home ministry is said to have struck down an information and broadcasting ministry proposal for giving security clearance to the 33 regional television channels of Sun TV Network.

Sources at the National Stock exchange, meanwhile, said SUN TV's response to a letter written by the exchange seeking clarification on media reports did not confirm or deny it.

Sun TV Network Limited has vide its letter inter-alia stated, "That no communication has been received by the company in this regard from any ministry and all our channels continue to be on air."

Reports said the home ministry's decision to withhold security clearance to Sun TV has been influenced by the pending criminal cases against Maran and his brother and former union telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran.

The Maran brothers are facing a CBI probe over alleged allotment of 300 high-speed BSNL telephone lines to former communications and information technology minister Dayanidhi Maran at his Chennai residence, which were subsequently extended to his brother's channel.

There are two other pending criminal probes against Sun TV Network and its owner Kalanithi Maran - the Aircel-Maxis case and a case of money laundering.

The Sun TV Network, with more than 95 million customer households, is one of India's largest media groups.

The network had sought an extension of its broadcasting licence by for another 10 years and has written to the information and broadcasting ministry for renewal of licence.

This requires security clearance from the home ministry, which the ministry has withheld.

Earlier, the home ministry had denied security clearance to 40 FM radio stations run by the Sun Network, prompting information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley to write to home minister Rajnath Singh in April, seeking a review of the decision.

However, there has been no change in home ministry's decision.

The Sun Network had already moved the Madras High Court seeking interim relief in the Sun FM matter and the court has granted it a stay till the petition is disposed of.

The Marans are expected to move court again in the Sun TV Network issue.

Alternatively, Prime Minister Narendra Modi could also intervene and overrule the home ministry's decision.