Millennium Post

Sun TV security clearance a threat to economy

Sun TV security clearance a threat to economy
The charges of money laundering are viewed very seriously across the world as it directly affects economic security of any country and Sun TV's promoters Kalanithi Maran and his brother former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran, facing a probe of similar nature, official sources said here on Friday.

Economic security is not different from national security as defined by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Home Ministry took the decision at the highest level after careful considerations of relevant provisions of the UAPA vis-a-vis the offences being probed against the Maran brothers, the sources said.

They said the Ministry will stick to its position but remained non-committal whether it would review the decision if a fresh request comes from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with the AG's opinion. "We do not give licences. We only give security clearances. The I&B Ministry is free to take a call depending on the AG's opinion," a source said.

The AG has supported grant of security clearance to 33 channels of Sun TV network, saying the corruption and money laundering cases being investigated against the Marans cannot be ground to deny it. The Maran brothers are facing a CBI probe over alleged allotment of 300 high-speed BSNL telephone lines to their installations. There are two other pending criminal probes against Sun TV Network and Kalanithi Maran -- CBI's Aircel- Maxis case and an Enforcement Directorate case of money laundering.

The AG was approached by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to seek the opinion after the Home Ministry denied security clearance to the network. In his opinion, the Attorney General has said that security clearance can be granted as agencies are probing cases related to corruption and not security. Hence, he said, corruption cases cannot be the ground to deny <g data-gr-id="55">security</g> clearance.

The I&B Ministry issues broadcasting licences for which companies require a security nod from MHA. The network had applied to the I&B Ministry for renewing its broadcasting licence for 10 years for which it needed the MHA nod.

Meanwhile, shares of Sun TV Network soared almost 8 <g data-gr-id="57">per cent</g> today after Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi supported grant of security clearance to 33 channels of the Kalanithi Maran-promoted firm. Following this, the stock jumped 7.86 <g data-gr-id="58">per cent</g> to settle at Rs 333.55 on BSE. In intra-day, it surged 10.68 per cent to Rs 342.30. On NSE, it climbed 7.88 per cent to Rs 333.90.

The company's market value rose Rs 957.69 crore to Rs 13,144.69 crore. The AG has supported grant of security clearance, saying the corruption cases being investigated against the network's promoter cannot be the ground to deny permission.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had recently approached the Law Ministry to seek the opinion of the top law officer on the issue after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) denied security clearance to the network. In his opinion, the Attorney General has said security clearance can be granted as agencies are probing cases related to corruption, and not security. Hence, he added, corruption cases cannot be the ground to deny <g data-gr-id="59">security</g> clearance.

The I&B Ministry issues broadcasting licences for which companies require a security nod from MHA. The ministry had earlier been informed about the decision of the Home Ministry denying security clearance to the TV network, which is believed to have been influenced by pending corruption cases against Maran and his brother, former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran. The 30-share Sensex on Friday settled at 27,316.17, up 200.34 points.
PTI

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