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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Business-hit Marans stand to lose big in TV empire

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times  Chennai, August 29, 2014
First Published: 21:16 IST(29/8/2014) | Last Updated: 11:07 IST(30/8/2014)

The politically powerful DMK family that till recently enjoyed power in Tamil Nadu and the Centre, is now finding the going tough – with even its business interests taking a hit.

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Maran brothers' cable business company, Kal Cables – a multi-system operator – stands to lose big as the Central government's order of closure begins to kick in.

The Chennai Corporation has begun a crackdown against multi-system operators, including Kal Cables, for defaulting on rent from the cable operators, most of who subscribe to Maran's company, leading to TV blackouts in many areas in Chennai.

Read: Marans got Rs. 600cr bribe in Aircel deal, CBI to court

The AIADMK was quick to laud the developments. Former finance minister and senior AIADMK leader C Ponnain said, "The decision was late but the closure order has restored the moral and constitutional rights of all TV channels in Tamil Nadu. Instead of TRAI, Sun TV was deciding everything and it destroyed all other channels."

Chennai mayor Saidai Duraisami said that previous DMK government turned the other eye to help the Marans profit and pay no rent to the civic body.

Chennai has 44% of the total households in Tamil Nadu having a cable TV connection. Of this number, Kal Cable has more than half the share. It used to have the majority share till AIADMK came back to power in 2011 and the Jayalalithaa government revived government cable TV company, Arasu Cable TV Corporation.

Before 2011, when DMK was in power, the Sun group had virtual control of the entire Tamil Nadu television business, which now has fallen to less than half, TV industry sources said. On Friday, the Maran brothers were also named in the CBI charge sheet in the Aircel Maxis deal case as well.

DMK leaders were not reachable for comment till the time of writing the report.


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