Granting license to the Sun Group, would dent the image of the “anti-corruption” image of the Modi government, Swamy said.

Dont grant license to Sun Groups FM channel Subramanian Swamy writes to NaiduPTI/file photo
news FM Phase-III Friday, November 11, 2016 - 12:37

Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy called on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to not grant license to the Sun Group in the impending e-auction of the first batch of private FM Radio Phase III channels.

In his letter to Minister of Information and Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu dated November 7, Swamy invoked the objections raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (the nodal authority) regarding security clearance for granting licenses.  

Swamy said that MIB had earlier accepted the concerns raised by the MHA.

He said granting license to the Sun Group, would dent the image of the “anti-corruption” image of the Modi government.

“I am of the considered opinion that giving any sort of permission to the Sun group (Sun TV Network Ltd) even for related matters by the government any further will not only adversely compromise the national security but also would gravely dent the anti-corruption image of our government, for the following reasons,” Swamy said in his letter.

Swamy in his letter pointed out that Kalanidhi Maran, the director of Sun TV Network Ltd who also owns 75% of the stakes was an accused in the Aircel-Maxis Case.

Swamy stated that MHA had earlier rejected the security clearance to Sun TV considering the same reason. 

"MHA earlier while rejecting the security clearance to the Sun TV had specifically mentioned the criminal matter pending against Mr. Kalanidhi Maran and reason for the denial of the security clearance was the pendency of these criminal matters for serious economic offences,” Swamy said.

Swamy also stated that in previous instances, licenses were canceled by the MIB in the case of Positive TV and Focus TV for similar reasons.

“Therefore principle of natural justice implies that there should be parity for similarly placed matters,” Swamy wrote.

Swamy in his letter reiterated, “Serious economic offences should be a fundamental ground for refusal to grant them a license as the Hon'ble Supreme Court had also in number of cases has said that the term 'National Security' will include the economic paradigm as a threat to the National security of the country.”

Swamy concluded that, if the government goes ahead and grants licenses to Sun TV, it might invite PILs as it goes against several Supreme Court verdicts.

“If the government consider favorably the Sun TV Network for the grant of license in the present matter it will be a serious wrong committed and seriously affect our Government's image. It will also go against the views taken by Hon'ble Supreme Court and may invite litigation in the public interest,” Swamy concluded.

The Notice Inviting Applications for bidding for first batch of FM radio phase III was issued in March, 2015.

In its order in July 2016, the Madras High Court had granted permission to Sun FM channels to participate in the Phase III auctions.

The court in an earlier hearing in June said, "In the absence of any evidence to show that the operation of radio channels by the petitioner companies would create security concerns, the denial of security clearance by the second respondent (the deputy director, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) cannot be accepted."

 

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