The Madras High Court on Tuesday set aside the Union Home Ministry's last July order denying security clearance to the Sun Group on the basis of which the Information and Broadcasting Ministry did not allow the group companies to participate in the Phase-III auction process of FM radio.
In his 132-page judgment, Justice M Duraiswamy directed the Union Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the Deputy Director (FM) of the same Ministry to announce the name of the successful bidders subject to the other conditions being fulfilled.
The judgement was delivered on a batch of petitions filed by Sun TV Net Work Limited, Kal Radio Limited, M/s. South Asia FM Limited and Udaya FM Private Limited.
The Group and its companies sought quashing of the July 15 order of the I&B Ministry refusing permission to them to participate in the phase III FM auctions on the basis of non-security clearance from the Union Home Ministry.
The Group had been denied security clearance on the ground it faced Aircel-Maxis case linked to 2G spectrum allocation, money laundering charges and alleged illegal telephone exchange case (in which former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother and Sun Group owner Kalanidhi Maran are accused).
Setting aside the denial of security clearance, the judge said, "The petitioner companies which were incorporated have been functioning since 2005 without there being any allegation regarding their functioning resulting in any security concerns."
"They were incorporated more than 10 years ago even before the alleged offences were committed and till date have not come to any adverse remarks by any authority; the question of piercing the corporate veil will not arise."
In fact the petitioner companies have been operating their licences under Phase I and Phase II for more than 10 years.
Though the cases were registered against Dayanidhi Maran and Kalanidhi Maran in 2011, the petitioner companies have continued to operate their respective radio channels without any objection concerning security clearance issued.