Thiruvananthapuram: State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran on Friday accused the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government of foul play over the way the independent court of the United Nations came out with its judgment in the case of two Indian fishermen who were allegedly shot dead by two Italian marines who were on board the Italian tanker ‘Enrica Lexie' off the coast of Kerala.
The Congress party has said that the case was seen only under the rules of navigation , while the criminal case was not looked into and this is a huge lapse on the part of the Modi government.
The incident took place on February 15, 2012. The Indian Navy intercepted the Italian tanker and detained the two marines, triggering an international conflict over legal jurisdiction and functional immunity.
The two marines were released and returned to Italy after two and four years, respectively. The Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations was tasked to resolve the conflict over jurisdiction.
Ramachandran in a statement wondered why this particular judgement surfaced only after a month since it was announced.
"This delay is purposefully done to escape the ire of the people and is also against the directive of the Supreme Court. The then UPA government and also then Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy did their best to ensure justice for the victims. But ever since Modi took over the reins, things went in the wrong direction as he and the Italian government had a secret understanding," said Ramachandran.
Chandy reacted sharply by saying that justice has been denied to the two fishermen.
"The strong position taken by my government and the Centre led by Manmohan Singh enabled the positive judgement from the apex court of our country and the Italian marines did not get any respite in the criminal case. But it was after Modi took over things started to go in favour of the Italians. None will forget the canards then spread against UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on this issue. We demand that India should go in for an appeal against this verdict," said Chandy and asked the Pinarayi Vijayan government to put maximum pressure on the Modi government to go in for an appeal.