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Mar 13, 2013 at 07:22pm IST

Italy insulted India, envoy will have to appear before SC: Salve

New Delhi: Senior counsel Harish Salve, who on Wednesday quit as the Italian marines' lawyer in the fishermen killing case, said that the Italian envoy will be made to appear before the Supreme Court if the two accused in the case did not return. Speaking to Rajdeep Sardesai, Salve also said that a deal between Italy and India over the issue, as the opposition parties have been alleging, was unlikely.

"I don't think there is any deal between India and Italy. Both the Centre and the Supreme Court have been taken for a ride. The Centre and the SC acted with grace (in allowing the marines to visit their country for elections) after taking an undertaking from the Italian envoy. It is impossible to accept this kind of insult," he said.

ALSO SEE Diplomatic row: Harish Salve quits as Italy's lawyer in fishermen case

Salve added that the Italian envoy will now be made to appear before the apex court if the two marines didn't return.

Meanwhile, the Indian government is also trying to regain lost ground. Sources have told CNN-IBN that the Italian ambassador to India Daniele Mancini will be asked to leave. CNN-IBN has learned that the final decision to expel the Italian envoy will be taken and formalised within a week.

All this even as MPs are set to bring up the issue in Parliament on Wednesday after the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday alleged diplomatic collusion between Delhi and Rome. The BJP will move a Calling Attention Motion on Wednesday in both Houses of Parliament demanding answers from the government. The opposition party said the diplomatic tussle is a contempt of the Supreme Court.

Joining the BJP, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he would take up the issue with the External Affairs Ministry. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed the Italian government's decision as unacceptable.

Italy maintained that the incident occurred in international waters and has been trying to get the two marines - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - tried in Italian courts, but India contended the shooting occurred in its own territory.

The government on Tuesday urged Italy to "honour the commitment" made to the Supreme Court of India and brushed away its suggestion of arbitration to resolve the issue. "Italy is obliged to ensure that the marines return to India as per their assurance. He (Italian Ambassador) took note of our position and said he would convey that to Rome," Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said after meeting the Italian envoy on Tuesday evening.

Supreme Court had given them permission to stay out of the country only till March 22. The two marines are facing trial for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012, mistaking them for pirates.

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