The Maran Conundrum: CBI ‘Security Clearance’ Defense
GoaChronicle.com leaks the four-page document filed by the legal counsel representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on its defense to denying ‘security clearance’ to the Maran-owned Sun Television Network and Kal FM Radio…
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has declined ‘security clearance’ to the Dayanidhi and Kalanithi Maran-owned companies Sun Television Network and Kal Cables. One of the primary reasons has been on account of the security red flag being raised by the Intelligence agency on the questionable usage of the illegal telephone lines.
In its four-page affidavit, MHA & CBI explains the ‘Notice Inviting Application’ (NIA) process and the reason behind which MHA is within its rights to decline ‘security clearance’ laid-out in the guidelines of the NIA. Sun TV Group has accepted all the terms and condition including clause 3.1, 3.2 and clause 3.8 in their pre-bid conference held on 28.01.2015 and now challenge the same merely because in the process of verification they have been found to be unsuitable.
Here is the ten point explanation of the Notice Inviting Application guidelines. While Sun TV and its promoters are resorting to shelter under Clause 3.1 and 3.2 in Court, it is Clause 3.8 that CBI and MHA is denying their security clearance:
- The tender process is a composite process having various stages; you cannot go to next stage with clearing the earlier stage.
- The process of elimination of persons held to be unfit is under two stages.
- In the first stage those applicants which are controlled by persons who are convicted of specified offenses are eliminated from the very beginning, one such offense is money laundering, it means that he who is convicted is barred from participating in the tender process itself. In the present case this clause is not applicable and because of that respondents were allowed to go to the next stage, this is in 3.1 and 3.2 of Notice Inviting Application (NIA).
- The next stage is clearance from security angle (Ministry of Home Affairs), this requires that even if a person is not convicted of specified offenses like money-laundering etc, still he has to have the security clearance, this means that a non-convict may also be debarred from participating in tender process, if he is not clear from security angle, this is clause 3.8 of NIA.
- The difference between clause 3.2 and 3.8 is that while those afflicted with clause 3.2 cannot improve but those afflicted with clause 3.8 can improve later if there is change in their security status depending upon facts of the case.
- The persons who need to be security cleared is specified and that earlier included companies/firms and Directors/Key executives of the applicant, but this has been changed by the government w.e.f. 16.01.2015. In addition to earlier categories, now any person including firms/companies/entities who have 10 per cent or more shares of applicant is required to be security cleared.
- Kalanithi Maran is Director as well as owner of 75 per cent shares of Applicant Company and therefore he needs to be security cleared, besides, he is the key executive taking all important decisions on behalf of the applicant company, hence he has to be security cleared.
- Further, the requirement of clause 3.8 is not statutory requirement but terms of condition between two contracting parties and if applicant does not want to meet the same, it cannot proceed with the contract.
- Clause 3.2 and Clause 3.8 are not interrelated or interdependent nor are they alternates, they are to be read independently and not in conjunction with each other.
- Sun TV Group has accepted all the terms and condition including clause 3.1, 3.2 and clause 3.8 in their pre-bid conference held on 28.01.2015 and now cannot challenge the same merely because in the process of verification they have been found to be unsuitable.