Two killers to go scot free?
By now it must become clear to all Indians that Italy is a holy cow, and as long as the Congress-led UPA government is in power Italians can get away with murder. Two Italian marines had shot dead two Indian fishermen at high sea off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012, and the Italians were arrested after the fishing community raised their voice in unison. But during Christmas of 2012 when the bail plea of the two Italian marines were heard in the Supreme Court the Kerala state had argued that the two Italian under-trials were not in prison. The family of the two marines could come to India to celebrate Christmas. The fact of the matter is that when the Italians realized that the Indian government was not very keen to go ahead with the trial and gave consent to the under-trials twice to go home to Italy, it simply reneged on its promise to the Supreme Court.
In an act of manufactured outrage the Indian government is planning to send back the Italian ambassador and sever economic and diplomatic ties. The Italians are smart in assessing from past-records that the Congress government in India led by Sonia Gandhi will never do anything that would shake the apple cart.
News media even reported on an affidavit signed by the Italian and Indian governments that would allow the Italian marines to go home even if they had been convicted!
Prime accused in Bofors gun scandal Ottavio Quattrocchi, after all the song and dance, was quietly allowed to escape Indian laws when CBI did not even make an attempt to get him arrested. Recently, the Finmeccanica episode reveals the murky relationship our government has with the Italians. Union defence minister AK Anthony in a late show of credibility refused to pay the Italian company for the helicopters, but even that measure now seems riddled with inconsistency as other Union cabinet members don’t approve of it. Kim Davy, a Danish national who was arrested for the Purulia arms drop, was similarly let go in mysterious circumstances like Hollywood heroes do in movies.
Now it has come to light that even France has got away in a similar manner. In 1996, the crew of a French yacht, Galathee had been caught spying off the coast of Kochi in Kerala. Almost on similar lines the Indian government allowed the two undertrials Francois Clavel (French national) and Elle Philippe (from Madagascar) to visit their homes in the middle of the hearings. The French government has assured the Indian government that it would make the two return to India. Now even Interpol is not able to trace them after they landed in their home countries!
The way the Congress-led governments at the Centre have been acting at the behest of foreigners accused in the acts of terror, spying, killings and corruption, there is growing suspicion that there is more than what meets the eye. In the recent case of the two Italian marines, the political corridors in Delhi are rife with rumours that there is a trade-off between Finmeccanica helicopter scandal’s scale of investigation in Italy and the handing over the two marines back. The fact that the government did not make a case strong enough for the Supreme Court to decide otherwise, especially when the Italians had engaged a heavy-weight like Harish Salve, tells a story of deceit and compromise.
Finally, many sane voices in news analysis are asking why the government relents on sending home foreign undertrials. Would the same Italy or France or the US allow the same luxury to Indian law-breakers in their land? Would Indians allow Pakistani under-trials to go home during the court hearings? Or even vice-versa. The moot point here is that beyond strategic and diplomatic relationships there are many under-currents in play. Who is the beneficiary of all these games will not be far to fetch.