Sun TV Network owned by Kalanithi Maran is facing a crisis of sorts with the Union ministry of home affairs refusing to give security clearance to its 33 TV channels on Monday.
The Sun TV shares listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange plunged 22 per cent and were trading at Rs. 267.30 in the early hours of Monday as the shareholders feared its broadcasting licence would be revoked and the channels may go off the air soon.
According to sources, the MHA had already rejected a proposal of the information and broadcasting ministry to provide clearance to the Sun TV network as the Marans are facing criminal cases filed by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
The Madras High Court has set aside an order of the I&B ministry cancelling the multi system operator licence to Kal Cables, a subsidiary of the Sun TV Network. But the denial of security clearance by the MHA was based on the fact that the brothers were facing criminal cases.
The high court took the view that if the licence were to be cancelled for security reasons as cited in the I&B Ministry’s report, it is the licence of the broadcaster of TV channels that should be cancelled and not that of a distributor.
In the present situation, the MHA has declined clearance for the TV channels which may turn contentious if the media network moves court.
K. Vijaykumar, managing director and CEO of Sun Network, refused to comment. “The shares collapsed in the morning and started recovering,” said S.L. Narayanan, chief financial officer of the Sun Group. But the shares closed at Rs. 278.90, against its previous close of Rs. 356.35.
The company informed the BSE that “no communication” has been received from any ministry and “all our channels continue to be on air.”