Gurudasan says government’s arguments in court were not strong enough
Members of the Opposition walked out of the Assembly on Monday accusing the State and Union governments of failing to effectively present the case against the Italian marines who shot to death two fishermen of the State from the Italian ship Enrica Lexie in February 2012.
P.K. Gurudasan (CPI-M), who gave notice for an adjournment motion, said that the two accused who first left for Italy for celebrating Christmas, had now managed to leave the country on the pretext of voting in the elections. This was in spite of the fact that the Italian law had provisions for online voting. The court was misled by the marines’ lawyer. When the case was taken up, it was the Assistant Attorney General and not the Attorney General who appeared in the court and no strong arguments were made for the government. The silence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in this case was also noted, he said.
He accused the State government of failing to file a review petition in the case. As per the Maritime Zone Act, 1972, the State government had the authority to intervene in the case as its purview extended up to the Exclusive Economic Zone in the sea. The shooting took place in the contiguous zone and it was well within the purview of the government, he said.
The special court for trying the marines should be set up in Kerala itself. The eight witnesses in the case were workers of the boat St. Antony and it would not be possible for them to go to Delhi for the case. He reiterated the fishermen’s demand to permit them to go for fishing up to 60 nautical miles and prevent the entry of foreign trawlers into the State’s territory.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the accused were permitted to leave for Christmas against stringent conditions. The Supreme Court had not cancelled the FIR or the case registered by the State police. The Union and State governments had opposed the request of the accused to participate in the elections. When the government insisted that they participate in the elections through postal ballot, the Italian envoy filed an affidavit saying that it was not possible for them to cast postal vote and it was on his assurance they were permitted to leave the country.
Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan’s comments against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi drew protests and they were expunged. Based on the Chief Minister’s reply Speaker G. Karthikeyan denied leave for the motion and the Opposition walked out in protest.