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Madras HC reserves order on Kal Cables

The Madras High Court today reserved its order in a petition, filed by Kal Cables, whose MSO license was canclled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which cited denial of security clearence by the Home Ministry as reason.

The senior counsel appearing for Ministry of Home Affairs also said the Ministry is trying to find out why Kal Cables file did not come to the Ministry between 2006 and 2013. It may be noted Kal Cables, a leading MSO in Chennai, is run by the Maran Maran family.

While, the Marans-run DK Enterprises holds around 25% in the company,  remaining 75% is held by Mallika Maran, mother of former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran.

On August 20, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting ordered cancellation of Kal Cables’ licence and gave 15 days time to the MSO to cut its signal. The Ministry said in view of denial of security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs, regular registration cannot be granted to Kal Cables Pvt Ltd in terms of provisions contained in Rule 11C and accordingly the permanent registration granted to Kal Cables Pvt Ltd stands cancelled.

The MSO operator has challenged this order at the Madras High Court and asked the Court to quash the Ministry’s order, while claiming that it was not given an opportunity to present its cause and it also alleged the Ministry’s decision is “against principles of natural justice”.

Last week, when the matter came up for hearing the Ministry of Home Affairs told the Court that it will submit a report, which will give reasons on why the company was denied licence.

G Rajagopal, the Additional Solicitor General of India today submitted the ‘confidential’ report to the Court. He refused to disclose any information related to the report, except for the Court.

During the argument today, he said, the Ministry has received ‘adverse’ notice and taking the interest of national security, economy interest and fare competition, the Ministry decided not to give the security clearance. He also told the Court, “We don’t know why the file had not come to the Ministry between 2006 and 2013.”

Senior Counsel P S Raman, who appeared for Kal Cables, argued that the company fulfilled all the parameters to get the license and the company was not given reasonable opportunity to present its case.

“We don’t know what is in the report (submitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs), we don’t know what is the threat proposition,” said Raman, who said ‘if’ the clearance was not given because of Marans then it is questionable.

He argued that Kalanidhi Maran resigned from Kal Cables as chairman and director in September 2009, while his younger brother Dayanidhi resigned as the director when he became Union Minister in 2004. It may be noted a chargesheet has been filed against both the brothers on Airce-Marxis deal.

“None of the management representatives, board members or shareholders are facing any legal issues, no FIRs filed, no criminal proceedings or complaints against them,” said Raman, who noted 75% of the shareholding of Kal Cables is held by Mallika Maran and balance 25% held by DK Enterprises, a private entity.

He also argued that the company is not running any satellite channel or into transmission, “We (Kal Cables) are doing last mile connectivity.”

After hearing the arguments, Justice V Ramasubramanian reserved the Order and said before Friday the Court would give its verdict. It may be noted, Ministry’s deadline to Kal Cables, to cut the signal, is Friday midnight.

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