While the Union home ministry has denied security clearance to the Marans-owned Sun TV Network Pvt Ltd, it is not clear why it has done so. It is true the Marans—Sun group promoter Kalanidhi and his brother, former IT & telecom minister, Dayanidhi—are being investigated by the CBI for alleged bribery in the Aircel-Maxis deal, and by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for money laundering. There is also the charge of unlawful gains from an illegal telephone exchange being run out of the Sun TV office premises. But which one of these charges, assuming they are validated, is a threat to national security?
The home ministry has said that the alleged offences threaten the “economic security” of the nation. But there are other media houses, as per The Indian Express, that are being investigated by CBI/ED, and yet, have not been denied clearances. Given such lack of consistency, Sun TV Network can easily challenge the matter in court—in an earlier case, where the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry ordered the closure of the Marans’ cable distribution business, based on the home ministry denying it security clearance, the Madras High Court struck down the order.
Indeed, the I&B minister has written to the home minister saying that a court stricture relating to the latest denial of clearances would be embarrassing for the government.