Italian marine refuses to return: Furious Shashi Tharoor calls it breach of trust, BJP mulls action
New Delhi, Jan 13: After Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre, accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 off the Kerala coast, refused to return to India to face charge, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday expressed serious concern over the matter and said that the people must be able to trust the sovereign word of a sovereign government.
"I think this is a very serious matter, I don`t know who this senator is except that she has the same last name as the marine, but if she is speaking for the Italian Government then I think we need to take very serious note of this issue," the former Union Minister was quoted by ANI report as saying.
"The truth is that Italy has given solemn undertaking to the Government of India and the Supreme Court when they removed the gentleman from the medical treatment. To say that he can`t come back to India again even when his health is okay is simply unacceptable, it`s also violation of a solemn undertaking by a government to another government and to the government`s highest judicial authorities," Tharoor further added.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP hinted at the possibility of the Indian government taking action on the same.
"With regards to anyone who leaves the country or seeks the indulgence of the court and thereby travels out, they are supposed to follow court orders. You can't have anybody showing disrespect to the court. I am sure that if someone is showing disrespect to the court or not following court orders then the government is bound to raise such a thing," BJP leader Nalin Kohli told ANI.
Latorre was allowed by the Supreme Court in September 2014 to go to Italy initially for four months after he had suffered a brain stroke. His stay there was extended subsequently.
"Massimiliano Latorre will not go back to India and work is being done on the possibility of requesting for Salvatore Girone to be able to return to Italy," Senator Nicola Latorre was quoted as saying by Italy's ANSA news agency on Tuesday.
Salvatore Girone, the other accused, is still here and Italy has been seeking his return as well. The Supreme Court on July 13 last year had allowed Latorre to stay in Italy for another six months on medical grounds, after the government did not object to his plea.
The six-month period ends on Wednesday. The matter may come up for hearing in the apex court today. The marines, who were on board ship 'Enrica Lexie', are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012 after mistaking them for pirates.
The Supreme Court which was handling the case suspended the court proceedings relating to the trial of two marines in August last year following an order to this effect by International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) which was approached by Italy for international arbitration.
(With inputs from agencies)