PM declines to comment on Italian marines issue

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 29, 2013 06:23 hrs

Durban: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has declined to comment on the case of two Italian marines and the issue of delays in setting up a special court to try them on charges of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast.

"This is now a story which is part of the judicial process. The Supreme Court has looked at it and a special court has been set up. And, I sincerely believe that is where the matter is and should be left," Dr Singh said on board Air India One while returning from the BRICS summit in Durban last night.

"It will be much too presumptuous on my part to comment on an issue that is sub-judice," he added

Dr. Singh was asked about the charge by the families of the two fishermen that the Centre was deliberately delaying the process in the case of the marines sent back by Italy last week after a raging diplomatic row.

The arrival of two Italian marines who are to face trial for killing two Indian fishermen back to New Delhi eased tensions between the two countries on Friday.

Italy's previous decision not to send the marines to face trial in India triggered a diplomatic standoff.

The Supreme Court had earlier ordered Italy's Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini not to leave the country till April 2, when the next hearing into the killing of two Kerala fishermen allegedly by two Italian marines is scheduled.

The apex court further indicated that all authorities should take appropriate steps on the order restraining the Italian envoy from leaving the country.

The two Italian marines, Salvatore Latorre and Massimiliano Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012 after mistaking them for pirates, were permitted by the Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in last month's election.

The two were also allowed to go home during Christmas. They returned to India on the expiry of their leave. (ANI)

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