Vessel case progressing strong, no leniency to accused: CM

Posted By: Pti
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Oommen Chandy
Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 5: Asserting that the probe in the fishermen killing case was progressing well, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today told the assembly that no leniency would be shown to accused Italian marines as government's priority was to ensure justice to the victims' families.

Accusing the Congress-led UDF government of failing to ensure safety of the fishing community, LDF opposition walked out of the House. They also alleged that the two arrested marines were being treated like "guests" rather than accused in a serious case.

Seeking leave for an adjournment on the issue, senior CPI(M) member P K Gurudasan said both the shooting of two fishermen by the marines of the Italian ship and death of three fishermen after their boat was hit by a ship last week exposed serious flaws in the coastal safety system.

Rejecting the opposition charge, Chandy said the state and the Centre had stood firm that the Italian marines should be tried under the Indian laws and a very strong case had been made based on "incontrovertible evidences" collected by the investigators.

Chandy said the prosecutors had rejected all the key arguments of Italy in defence of their marines. They (Italian authorities) first said the fishermen were shot at mistaking them to be pirates. Then, they objected to the trial of marines under the Indian laws arguing the incident happened outside Indian's exclusive maritime zone.

The state had rejected these arguments making it clear from the very outset that the accused should subject themselves to Indian laws. The Centre had also stood firm by the state in the case, he said.

There would be no change from these positions and the diplomatic ties between the two countries should not come in the way of dispensing justice, Chandy said.


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