No hidden deal with Italy, asserts India

  • Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Mar 24, 2013 01:56 IST

There is no hidden deal behind Italy’s decision to send back its two marines and it is a result of the Indian government’s pro-active diplomatic initiatives, law minister Ashwani Kumar said on Saturday.

“An unpleasant and unprecedented situation that could have cast a permanent shadow over Indo-Italian relations has been averted. The Italian government’s decision to send back the marines to face trial is a vindication of our judicial process,” Kumar told HT.

The minister termed as “incorrect the assumptions” that there was any hidden deal which led to the change in Italy’s earlier position of not sending back the two marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen last year.

“The Italian government’s decision is a result of the UPA government’s pro-active diplomatic initiatives and all other conjectures are baseless. The entire process was transparent and we have nothing to hide,” Kumar said.

Asked about the undertaking given to Italy that the two marines will not be given death penalty and will enjoy a comfortable stay in India, the law minister replied :“The two marines will be tried according to the applicable judicial processes and will get a fair trial, I can say with full responsibility.”

Kumar said since the Supreme Court was already seized of the entire matter, the government will place full facts before it and would proceed “according to the directions of highest court of the country.”

The minister said India’s track record in honouring international treaties and conventions is recognized across the world and “there should be no doubt in this regard in anybody’s mind.” The government has already decided to set-up a special court in the Capital to begin the trial of the two marines on a fast track basis, the minister said.

Spl court in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala CM Oommen Chandy asked the Centre to set up the special court in Kollam to try the marines. In a letter to PM Manmohan Singh, the CM said Kollam sessions court could be designated as a special court to try them. Since the Kollam court first initiated legal proceedings against them, it would be helpful for witnesses and others to depose before it easily, he said. (HTC)


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