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Who is Kalanidhi Maran?

A business owner, a media baron and the Forbes billionaire- Kalanidhi Maran, 47, owns television channels, magazines, news papers, DTH Service and FM Radio stations in South India. Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Sun TV Networks, Kalanidhi is television king of Southern India where his Sun TV rules.

Born in 1964 in a family deep-rooted in politics, Kalanidhi is the son of former Union Minister of commerce Murasoli Maran, brother of ex-textile minister Dayanidhi Maran and grandnephew of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. He is married to Kaveri (who hails from Coorg in Karnataka) in 1991 and has a 15-year-old daughter, Kavya.

Kalanidhi is the alma mater of the prestigious Don Bosco in Egmore, Chennai. He took a Commerce degree from Chennai’s Loyola College. An MBA from University of Scaranton, USA, Kalanidhi returned to India in 1987 to join family-run Tamil magazine- Kungumam, even as his father was keen to send him for doctoral studies.

South Indian media baron owns regional broadcaster Sun TV Network, which he launched in 1993 as a channel, beaming three-hour programmes daily. Today it has 20 television channels that reach 95 million households. The Sun Empire is a powerful media entity in four southern states, and Kalanidhi, is the highest paid CEO in the country.

Sun Picture’s first production venture — Endhiran (Robot), starring Rajnikanth and Aishwariya Rai Bachchan did good business at box office. He also owns 45 FM radio stations, two daily newspapers, four magazines.

Kalanidhi expanded his business into aviation to sign the much-coveted deal with budget carrier SpiceJet, thus raising many eyebrows when he left behind well-known corporate names to close the deal.It was his this business acumen that Forbes has estimated his net worth US $ 2.9 Billion in 2010 making him India’s Top 20 Richest people.In May 2007, office of Klanidhi owned Tamil daily newspaper, Dinakaran was attacked after it published a survey whose results showed majority of the people of Tamil Nadu favoured Karunanidhi’s younger son M K Stalin as his likely successor as against Karuna’s elder son M K Azhagiri.However in 2010, a criminal case against Kalanithi was filed by Azhagiri owned Cable TV Distrubiton Company Jak communications.

Kalanidhi has recently been in the middle of controversies following the controversy entailing Dayanidhi Maran over his alleged role in the 2G spectrum allocation scam. Dayanidhi Maran, the ex-textiles minister and a senior leader of the DMK, had allegedly misused his office as Telecom Minister to establish a virtual telephone exchange of nearly 300 phone lines at his house which were then secretly made available for use to Sun TV.

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