Oommen Chandy denies any lapse in Italian Marines case
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said that there were no lapses on the part of his government in the Italian Marines case.
"When we were informed that this case is coming to the court we informed the Advocate General to engage a senior advocate. The Kerala government has taken a clear stand on this issue and there were no lapses from the government's side and we have received full support from the central government regarding this," said Chandy.
Chandy assured that the victim compensation fund would be handled by proper legal authority.
"Victim compensation fund will be handled by home affairs, state legal service authority and district legal service authority," Chandy said.
Earlier, Italy had expressed disappointment over the apex court decision to postpone the hearing in the case of the Italian marines charged with the killing of fishermen, an incident that soured diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The government has given its approval to an investigation agency to charge the sailors under its maritime security law, but said it would not seek death penalty if they were found guilty.
Italy strongly opposes India invoking the law, arguing that it would equate to treating the men as terrorists.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, part of a military security team protecting a cargo ship off the coast of Kerala, say they thought the fishermen were pirates and fired shots to warn them off in February 2012.
The case has become a sensitive political issue in both countries. In India, supporters of harsh penalties for the marines had marched on the streets, while in Rome the lights illuminating the Colosseum were turned off last year in a protest demanding the two be allowed to return home.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)