Kerala asks Centre to withdraw Harin Raval

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that he has got the Additional Solicitor General dropped from the Italian Ship case.

Thiruvananthapuram/Chennai: Livid over the u-turn made by Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval in the Italian ship case, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said he has got him dropped from the case even as Centre distanced itself from the ASG`s remarks.

Chandy said he had spoken to Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman asking him not to allow Raval to appear in the case. "The SG has agreed to this," he told reporters.

In a fax message to Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Chandy wanted to know under what circumstances Raval had submitted in the Supreme Court that India has no jurisdiction to detain the Italian ship `Enrica Lexie` from which marines had shot dead two Indian fishermen on February 15 off Kerala coast.

In his submission, Raval had said the ship was not within Indian territorial waters when the shotting incident took place.

Chandy wanted the Centre to engage the Attorney General in the case in place of Raval, whose submission in the apex court yesterday drew sharp reaction from both opposition and ruling Congress-led UDF.

Earlier, talking to reporters in Kochi, Chandy said there was no change in the state`s stand on the issue and that Raval would not appear in the case.

Chandy said Kerala had informed the central government at each stage of the case and had received full support.

"Government is clear that the incident happened in Indian waters," Shipping Minister G K Vasan told reporters in Chennai. "It might be his personal opinion," Vasan said when asked about Raval`s submissions.

The ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala found itself in a bind as ASG`s submission contradicted the stand of government headed by Oommen Chandy which firmly held that India has every legal competence to try the case under its law.