Home ministry erred in blocking Sun TV Netwok's security clearance: AG

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi has told the information and broadcasting ministry that the home ministry's denial of security clearance to the 33 television channels of Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Network, on the ground of corruption cases being investigated against its promoter, does not stand legal scrutiny.

The attorney general has opined that security clearance can be granted to Sun TV Network as agencies are probing cases related to corruption and not security.

Hence, he said, corruption cases cannot be the ground to deny security clearance.

The development comes as a great relief to Kalanithi Maran, the network's promoter, who along with his brother Dayanidhi Maran is fighting corruption cases connected with the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The home ministry had denied clearance to Sun TV on the ground that the Marans are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Kalanithi Maran had argued that criminal cases are not peculiar to his company and that most of the TV companies have criminal cases pending against their promoters or directors and that his company has been singled out for denying security clearance.

Reports said the home ministry sat on Maran's plea that his company was never involved in any anti-national or criminal activity and there was no justification for refusal of the clearance to his television channels.

With the Sun TV Network getting security clearance and an extension of licence, as many as 33 channels of the Sun TV Network will be free to operate.

The development comes after the information and broadcasting ministry sought legal opinion after the home ministry blocked security clearance to Sun TV on the grounds of criminal cases pending against its promoters.

Security clearance from the home ministry is necessary for extending the operations licence of Sun TV Network, which is expiring.