Free Press Journal

Red FM allowed in auction as no allegations against it: HC



New Delhi: Delhi High Court today said that Red FM was allowed to participate in stage three of FM auction as it has been operating since 2002 and there has been no allegation that since then it has indulged in activities which could raise security concerns. The court, which had yesterday quashed the government’s July 15 decision denying security clearance to the radio channel as well as rejecting its application for permission to take part in stage three of FM auctions, had said that it will give detailed reasons for its decision later.

Giving reasons for its decision, a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said there was no allegation against Digital Radio Broadcasting Ltd, which runs Red FM in Delhi and Mumbai, that it was created as a camouflage to shield persons exercising control over it from any liability.

Digital Radio had not been permitted by the government to take part in the auction on the ground that it had been denied security clearance due to its association with Sun TV, whose promoter Kalanithi Maran had a 21.6 per cent indirect shareholding in the channel.

The government had denied security clearance to Digital Radio as Kalanithi Maran and former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran were being prosecuted in cases of money laundering. Not accepting the government’s stand, the court has said “Even when the cases against the Marans were registered in 2011, the petitioner companies (Digital Radio Mumbai and Digital Radio Delhi) have continued to operate their radio channels without any objection concerning security issues.

“.. both these companies got extensions of their licenses by six months as recently as on March 31, 2015. Even then, no security concerns were raised in respect of the two companies.”