Italian envoy can't leave India till March 22 : SC
New Delhi, Mar 14: Taking serious note of the attitude of the Italian government declaring that two marines will not be sent to India to face trial in two fishermen murder case, the Supreme Court today directed Italian Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini not to leave the country till March 22.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also issued notices to the Italian government, Mr Mancini and two marines.
The apex court has given time till March 22 to respond to the notice.
Earlier, Attorney General of India G E Vahanvati mentioning the matter before the bench of the Chief Justice submitted that the Italian Ambassador was trying to back out from the undertaking given by him while seeking parole for two Italian marines to enable them to cast vote in the elections which were due to be held in Italy.
The envoy had given an undertaking to the court by way of an affidavit that the two accused marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, would return to India latest by March 22 to face trial for killing two fishermen in Kerala.
The marines, deployed to provide security against pirates on board the merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, sailing from Singapore to Egypt in February last year, had allegedly mistaken a fishing boat off the Kerala coast for a pirate vessel and opened fire killing Valentine Jelestine, 45, from Kerala and Ajesh Binki, 25, from Tamil Nadu.
Indian Coast Guard vessels had intercepted the vessel that had continued on its way and escorted it to Kochi. The two soldiers, arrested on February 19, 2012 were under trial in Kerala till the Supreme Court on January 18 ruled that Kerala lacked jurisdiction in the trial and ordered setting up of a special court in New Delhi.
The marines had sought and were given permission by the apex court on February 22 to go to Italy for voting in the election.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday warned the Italian government of severe consequences if the two marines were not sent back to India.
The Italian government has, however, indicated that it wanted to resolve the matter through the intervention of International Court of Criminal Justice.
In the meantime, UN Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon has appealed to the two governments to find a solution through mutual consultation.