We do not trust the Italian envoy anymore: SC

2:30 PM, Monday, March 18th, 2013

 Supreme CourtNew Delhi: Slamming the Italian Ambassador over the marines issue, the Supreme Court on Monday said that they had lost trust in him.

An angry SC said, “We do not trust the Italian envoy anymore.”

Coming down heavily on Daniele Mancini when told that he had complete immunity under the Vienna Convention, the SC said, “A person who comes to the court and gives undertaking has no immunity.”

The Supreme Court also restrained the envoy not to leave the country till further orders. “All authorities shall take appropriate steps on order restraining the Italian envoy from leaving the country,” SC said.

The apex court had on March 15 restrained the Italian Ambassador from leaving the country without its permission, taking exception to his government’s refusal to send back the marines.

However, the SC stopped short of holding the envoy in contempt.

Meanwhile, the marines case has been adjourned till April 02.

Italy reneged on its undertaking to send back its marines charged with the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast last year, leading to a standoff between New Delhi and Rome.

The Italian government had on March 11 sent a ‘Note Verbale’ to the Indian government informing it that the two will not be sent back.

Earlier, on January 18, the apex court had turned down the Italian government’s plea that the Indian courts had no jurisdiction in the case and had held that the two marines should be tried by the Centre by constituting a special court to conduct their trial.

Harish Salve, who quit as Italian government’s counsel, feels that Mancini breached a solemn undertaking given to Supreme Court which can take action against the envoy including sending him to jail.

Salve said he feels that the Ambassador will find it “very hard” to explain in the court why he went back on the undertaking.

The two marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, were allowed by the apex court to go to Italy to cast their vote in the elections there after the Italian Ambassador had given an assurance to send them back. Government is mulling various options including declaring the Italian Ambassador as persona non-grata and downgrading of relations.

It has already asked its Ambassador-designate to Italy Basant Kumar Gupta not to proceed to Rome as a review of the entire gamut of ties with Italy was underway by the government.

If this comes through, there will be no Ambassador-level representation between the two countries.

The two marines were on board Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’, when they shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, last year.


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