Will Move SC if Union Govt Fails to accept Collision between INS Kochi and Suvarna Tribhuja – Pramod Madhwaraj
Udupi: Former minister Pramod Madhwaraj has demanded a judicial inquiry to be conducted by a retired Supreme Court judge, into the case of the missing crew of Suvarna Tribhuja and the boat wreckage that was recently discovered by the Navy personnel.
While speaking at a press meet held at the Press Club on Saturday, May 4, Madhwaraj accused the NDA government and Udupi MLA Raghupati Bhat of trying to close the issue until the end of elections and thereby mislead the families of the missing fishermen. He said that he had always been insisting that the naval warship INS Kochi was responsible for the accident.
Addressing the mediapersons Pramod said, “A fishing boat cannot capsize on its own. If there was a technical problem with the boat, the crew members had several opportunities to abandon the boat. They would have alerted the crew of other boats. Sadly, no such activities were reported. The boat had capsized following the collision. INS Kochi is responsible for the murder of seven fishermen,” he alleged.
He also said that the NDA government was aware of the fact that INS Kochi was involved in the accident. However, the matter was kept secret due to the on-going Lok Sabha elections.
Pramod further said, “There was no need for staging a search operation drama. MLA Raghupathi Bhat is playing politics over the dead bodies of the fishermen. It is a poll gimmick. Yesterday, I have released the images of the warship INS Kochi after it collided with the Suvarna Tribhuja. The Navy vessel has sustained damage by colliding with the fishing boat.”
On January 16, the Udupi District SP had written a letter to the naval offices of INS Kadamba Kawar and sought information about the damaged INS Kochi warship. The officials had replied that after sunrise the ship had lowered its boat (at about 7.15 hours on 15 December) in order to ascertain the scope of the damage. The inspection revealed that the Sonar Dome (which was at a depth 6.5 meters below water level) had ruptured, and no other damage to the ships bottom or any underwater appendage, including the propellers, was found.
Pramod also said, “Since the INS Kochi warship had collided with the Suvarna Tribhuja, the Navy should compensate the boat owner as well. The Navy personnel are the main ones responsible for the tragedy; the Navy should give at least Rs 25 lakhs as compensation for each of the missing fishermen’s families. The Navy has kept the whole country in the dark by not providing information on the accident. I have decided to write a detailed letter to the President of India, the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, and the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Karnataka demanding a judicial inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge. If the government fails to fulfill this demand, then I will move the Supreme Court for justice.”
Congress leaders Sathish Ameen Padukere, Bhaskar Rao Kidiyoor, Janardhan Bhandarkar, Ganesh Nergi, District JDS Presdient Yogish Shetty were present