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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Modi's claims on marines case baseless: Chandy

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Thiruvananthapuram, April 03, 2014
First Published: 01:17 IST(3/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:19 IST(3/4/2014)

Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday hit out at BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi for his attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi over Italian marines' issue at his Itanagar rally, saying Modi was making "baseless allegations aimed at attracting cheap publicity and some electoral gain".

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Chandy said it was the quick decision of the state government that had helped intercept the fleeing Italian cargo ship, which, in turn, led to the arrest of the two marines who had killed two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast.

Addressing a rally in the Arunachal Pradesh capital on Monday, Modi asked Sonia to come clean on helping the two Italians go home after killing two Indian fishermen.

He also said the timely intervention of the Supreme Court had forced them to come back to India to face trial.

Chandy, however, asked Modi to check his facts before making wild allegations. "After February 2012 shooting, the marines visited Italy twice, first to join their families on Christmas and then to cast their votes. The first visit was allowed by the Kerala high court and the second by the Supreme Court," he said. On both occasions they were allowed to leave the country after adhering to prevailing laws that ensured that they returned within stipulated time, Chandy added.

He said the Centre and the Congress Party had fully backed the state government in taking a strong position on the issue.

When the UN general assembly president, John Ashe, visited in March, he first said he would take up the marines' issue with India. But, Chandy said, the PM immediately told him that he should instead focus his discussion on UN work.

"The paradoxical stand of Modi who recently said he did not regret Gujarat riots in which hundreds were massacred, and is now crying for the two deceased in the marines' case, is nothing but ridiculous," said Chandy.


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