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No deal struck with Italy on marines' return: Khurshid

New Delhi, Mar 22, 2013 (PTI): 19:26 IST
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said no deal has been worked out with Italy for bringing back the marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen but the government has "clarified" to authorities in Rome that the case does not entitle death penalty.

Khurshid credited his Ministry, the Supreme Court and the position of his "senior" leaders for the return of the marines.

"We had no deal anywhere. No deal in Geneva, no deal in Colombo, no deal in Rome," Khurshid told reporters here.

Speaking about the assurances given to Italian authorities about not giving death penalty to the two marines, he said "we clarified, for their (Italian government) benefit and on their initiative, when they enquired and asked us, we clarified to them in writing that if the marines come back within the period that is given to them, which I believe is presumably till midnight 22nd today, they will be compliant with the SC order".

He said it was clarified that there is no question of any authority proceeding to do anything to them or arresting them.

The External Affairs Minister said the marines were "free to move in the country" to the extent limited by the Supreme Court.

He said the other issue on which the Italians sought clarification was death penalty.
"We clarified that the nature of the alleged incident, for which they will be put on trial, is such, and jurisprudence of our country is very clear on it, that in such a case, there would not be death sentence.

"Because in the description that is being (given) of the rarest of the rarest cases, there is no place. We clarified that," Khurshid said.

"We didn't say we will not give you this sentence. We didn't say that. We said that our understanding is that this is not a case for rarest of rarest. We checked with the law officers... and we gave them only after the law officers" gave their opinion, Khurshid stressed.

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