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Govt has 'meekly caved in' to pressure from Italy: BJP

Govt has meekly caved in to pressure from Italy: BJP

New Delhi: BJP on Monday accused the government of "meekly caving in" to pressure from Italy after it agreed to drop some stringent sections of the law slapped against the two Italian marines who have been charged with killing Indian fishermen.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad also hit out at Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid for targeting the then Home Secretary RK Singh, now a BJP member, for allegedly harming the case.

Prasad asked whether government policy was determined by a home secretary or by the ruling dispensation at the political level.

Accusing the government of going overboard to secure to the marines one relief after another, he said, "My charge is that this government has meekly caved in to pressure from Italy. Should the nation presume that India on Monday is finding it difficult to resist pressure from Italy?

"It is most unfortunate. Government must come out with all the facts as to why this decision was taken and under what pressure."

Meanwhile, dismissing the charge that he was responsible for having handled the case poorly as the home secretary, Singh said crucial decisions were taken at a meeting attended by the attorney general and senior External Affairs and Home Ministry officials.

"No question," Singh shot back when asked if he was responsible for decisions which might have weakened the case.

He instead accused the government of "short-circuiting" the judicial process and suggested that it might have to do with the fact that the marines were from Italy.

The apparent reference was to Congress President Sonia Gandhi's link with her country of birth.

The allegations by BJP drew a sharp retort from Congress, which asked whether the opposition believed that Supreme Court had given in to pressure from Italy.

At an AICC briefing, party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi remarked that "BJP is forever tilting at windmills. Does it mean that Supreme Court has given in to (pressure from) the government of Italy.

"You should ask them whether the trial court has given in to the government of Italy... It is something which is monitored minute by minute in pending proceedings in Supreme Court," Singvhi said.

Accused marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, now lodged at the Italian Embassy premises in New Delhi, allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.


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