SC stops Italian envoy from leaving country
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The Supreme Court Thursday restrained Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India and sought an explanation from his government for breaking its promise to send back two marines to face trial for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast last year.
The court's order came as the government said it had begun reviewing the entire gamut of relations with Rome through an inter-ministerial process and also briefed European Union envoy Joao Cravinho about Italy's U-turn on a sovereign commitment.
The External Affairs ministry also called Mancini to hand over the court's order. MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the "entire expanse of our interaction" with Italy was being reviewed and stressed that Italy has to "respect and abide" by its agreements with the Supreme Court.
"As part of our ongoing efforts following what the Prime Minister has said in Parliament yesterday, we have initiated a study of our interaction with Italy. At the end of the internal process, we will take further action that is appropriate, taking into account all aspects of our relationship," he said.
In the Supreme Court, a bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir pointed out that there were separate undertakings cited by Mancini - one on behalf of his country and another taking "full responsibility" to ensure the return of the marines - and issued notices to the envoy to furnish explanations on the two counts independently.
The bench also asked marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, who were allowed on February 22 to return to Italy for four weeks to vote in general elections, to submit their replies since they had also given their personal undertakings to comply with the conditions set by the apex court.
The bench sought their replies by March 18 while accepting a request for imminent intervention by Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who said: "It was a breach of undertaking given to the highest court of the land and the government is extremely concerned about it, more so because it is under the orders passed by this court."
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