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Home Ministry grants permission to Red FM for migration to Phase III

Smrithi Suresh

Red FM
Red FM

In a big relief to radio channel Red FM, the Ministry of Home Affairs gave green signal to Red FM for migration from Phase II to Phase III radio waves frequency.

Today when the case came up for hearing before a Single Bench of Justice JR Midha, the Government informed the Bench that the necessary security clearance had been granted to Digital Media, the company which owns the radio channel.

Previously, the MHA had disallowed migration to Red FM citing the channel as a national security threat. The Ministry had highlighted pending cases such as the 2G case and Aircel-Maxis issue that has been plaguing Kalanithi Maran and Dayanithi Maran, as a reason for the denial. Red FM had challenged this decision in the Delhi High Court and the Division Bench of Justices BD Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva had allowed the channel’s participation in the mock auction that was held last year.

During that time, the company had argued that being an entertainment company it did not pose any threat to national security. Both the Bombay and Delhi wings of the company had filed the petition with senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for each wing. Both counsels had tried to disassociate Red FM from the Maran brothers.

Singhvi submitted that while Dayanidhi Maran held absolutely ‘no control over both the companies’ (Delhi and Bombay) either as a shareholder or director, Kalanithi Maran held 22% shares in the company which was to be viewed as a minority stake and therefore ought not to be treated as a ‘controlling stake’ in the company.

Sibal had argued that none of these persons had been convicted under Prevention of Money Laundering Act; there was no question of them threatening national security.

In a related instance, even the Apex Court had pulled up the Central Government for not granting security clearance to the Sun Group and said that security clearance cannot be denied in ongoing probe.

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