Despite the home ministry withholding security clearance to the 33 channels owned by Kalanithi Maran promoted Sun TV network, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi has supported the grant of such clearance by pointing out that corruption cases against the promoter cannot be cited to deny it.
The information and broadcasting ministry had approached the law ministry to seek the opinion of the top law officer on the issue after the home ministry denied security clearance to the network.
Giving his opinion, the attorney general said that security clearance can be granted even as different agencies are probing cases related to corruption and these are not related to the security issues.
He said corruption cases cannot be the grounds to deny security clearance.
In cases where two ministries differ, the opinion of the AG is usually accepted though it is not binding. Sources did not rule out the matter being referred to an inter-ministerial group for a final call.
The information and broadcasting 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 Mr Maran and his brother, former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran.
The television channels could, however, seek a legal recourse. The Sun TV Network is one of India’s largest media groups whose TV channels reach more than 95 million households in the country.
The network had applied to the information and broadcasting ministry for renewing its broadcasting licence for 10 years for which it needed the MHA nod.