Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has sought an apology from BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for dragging Congress President Sonia Gandhi into the Italian marines' case by levelling "unfounded allegations" against her.
Flaying Modi's statement at an election rally in Assam in which he demanded that Gandhi come clean on who helped the two Italian marines get "safe passage" from the country after killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast, Chandy dared the BJP leader to either prove his allegation or tender an apology for making "unfounded charges."
In a statement here last evening, Chandy said Modi's allegation against the Congress president was "totally baseless without even an iota of truth in it." "If Modi has proof of what he had said he should make it public.If he does not have any evidence to prove what he has said, he should withdraw the allegation and tender a public apology," Chandy said.
Recalling the details of the case, Chandy said the two marines---Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone-- accused of killing two fishermen in Indian territorial waters were arrested by Kerala Police in February 2012.
After that an FIR was registered against them in a police station in Kollam and submitted before the sessions court. The marines had visited Italy twice since then, first to join their families for Christmas and again for voting in national elections there, with the permission of the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court respectively.
On both the occasions, they were allowed to go out after getting a firm guarantee that they would return to India within the deadline set for them and face the trial, he said. The Congress-led UDF in Kerala has always been of the firm view that the marines should be tried in India under the law of the land, he said.
Chandy said he had written as recently as March 20 to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing concern over media reports that Italy might try to involve the United Nations to save the marines.