Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018
NEW DELHI

India secret service won't probe marines

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
New Delhi, April 2 - The Indian government on
Tuesday denied reports that its elite secret service was taking
over the case of two Italian marines on trial for allegedly
killing two Indian fishermen a year ago.
"There has been no official confirmation," government
spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told ANSA, contrary to reports Monday
that the case had been reassigned from local authorities to the
National Investigation Agency (NIA), which was set up after the
2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai to combat national-security
threats.
The complex case has reached the highest political levels,
has led to the resignation of Italy's foreign minister, and
caused a diplomatic rift between the two countries over the fate
of the marines.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of
shooting and killing fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh
Binki after mistaking them for pirates while guarding a
mercantile ship off the Kerala coast in February 2012.
Italy disagrees with India's claim that it has jurisdiction
over the case, arguing that the deaths occurred in international
waters.
Such was its justification when the government announced
last month that the men, on a four-week parole in Italy to vote
during general elections, would not be going back to face trial
for homicide.
The move prompted India to slap Italian Ambassador to India
Daniele Mancini with a travel ban, preventing him from leaving
the country in what Italy blasted as a violation of the Vienna
Convention on diplomatic protocol.
International tensions eventually cooled when Italy, in a
dramatic U-turn, said it would send the marines back to India
after all.
The men returned on March 22.
On Tuesday, India's Supreme Court lifted the travel ban on
Italy's ambassador "until further notice," according to Chief
Justice Altamas Kabir.
But while diplomatic pressures have eased, political ones
in Rome were exacerbated by the move, which last week triggered
the acrimonious resignation of Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi,
who complained that the government went against his wishes to
keep the marines in Italy.
Outgoing Premier Mario Monti, who denied the charge,
appeared the next day before both houses of parliament to
provide more details behind the tangled row.
Monti said relations with key trade allies in the
developing world were on the line but denied that economics was
a factor in the decision-making process.
Speaking before the Senate, Monti said that Italy had faced
"measures" from India and fellow BRICS countries as a
consequence for choosing not to return the marines to face
trial.
"We had word from Foreign Undersecretary Staffan De Mistura
that the possibility of measures being taken against Italy were
being considered," Monti said.
BRICS, an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa, is an influential association of emerging national
economies.
In his address to the House, Monti insisted that economic
interests did not influence the decision.
"Let me reject forcefully any speculation about possible
exchanges or agreements with India," Monti said.
Some media outlets have linked the marines' case to
corruption allegations surrounding a $748 million deal for the
purchase of 12 Italian helicopters, a contract that the Indian
government is now threatening to scrap.
Monti stressed the diplomatic stakes.
"There were serious and objective risks that Italy would
find itself isolated in the international community," if it had
failed to ensure the pair returned to India, Monti said.
"It would have opened a crisis of serious proportions with
India".
On Tuesday, the Indian Supreme Court said it was taking
"initiatives" to form a special court for the case, Indian
Attorney General Goolam Essaji Vahanvati said.

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