Udayavni Special

Boat tragedy: Navy has misled the direction of investigation – Madhwaraj


Team Udayavani, May 5, 2019, 11:43 AM IST

Udupi: I have all the required documents. Udupi MLA Raghupati Bhat is using the issue for his political gain. He is doing a drama to gain the trust from the fishermen community. Navy has misled the direction of investigation. Even though defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman knew the truth, why did she hide the fact? They had a fear that the fishermen community would turn against them. Therefore, they took their own time to disclose what happened to the missing fishermen,” said former minister of fisheries Pramod Madhwaraj on Saturday May 4 and demanded the central government to pay compensation of Rs 25 lakh each to the families of the deceased fishermen.

Madhwaraj alleged that the naval forces from INS Kochi killed the seven fishermen aboard Suvarna Tribhuja. “The entire issue was covered up. The naval forces from INS Kochi should take up the responsibility,” he demanded and added that credible sources have confirmed that 3 to 4 corpses were found floating in the sea near Maharashtra.

Why MLA Raghupati Bhat ventured into the sea when the Model Code of Conduct was in effect? He asked and stressed that if INS Kochi is responsible for the accident, then they should take responsibility to claim insurance of the boat. The navy should pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to each of the deceased fishermens families.

Will move to the Supreme Court

“If the Naval commander committed a mistake, he should be punished and the defense minister should take stern action against him. They have betrayed the trust of the fishermen. If the defense minister or the union government fails to take the necessary steps, I will move to the Supreme Court and request appointment of retired Supreme Court judge to conduct judicial inquiry. The central government has shown complete negligence. I have respect for the Navy, but who is the responsible for the lives of seven fishermen?” questioned the former minister.

“I had requested the state government to release Rs 10 lakh to each of the fisherman’s family, but now I am stressing that central government should release compensation,” he added.

Madhwaraj pointed out that BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje had to be ‘out of her mind’ for her tweet that she is happy on the finding of the missing boat ‘Suvarna Tribhuja’. There is nothing much to say about the tweet, he said.

“In case, the Navy fails to admit their mistake, I will write letter to the defense minister, Maharashtra and Karnataka chief ministers and to the President of India to grant permission to undertake further investigation,” he assured.

Madhwaraj noted that the fishermen had clearly located the spot from where Suvarna Tribhuja initially went missing. However, Navy said it went missing from Goa. “It could have been an accident. However, such incidents should be reported. Is there no value for a poor man’s life?” he asked.

Informing about the available evidence, Madhwaraj said that the route, date, positioning and time of INS Kochi matches to that of Suvarna Tribhuja. “If anyone wants more evidence that this then they are just ‘traitors’,” he said.

“I am not a person who seeks publicity by telling lies. I am doing the work of opposition party. State government has done everything possible but Central government has neglected and tried to conceal the matter until the issue gets settled. If necessary, I will drag Nirmala Sitharaman to Supreme Court, because she is also involved in the political game,” said Madhwaraj.

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