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No death penalty for Italian marines, Centre tells Supreme Court

This means the mandatory death penalty clause will no more be applied against the two marines.

New Delhi | Updated: February 24, 2014 9:36 pm
File photo Italian marines Salvatore Girone, left, and Massimiliano Latorre. File photo Italian marines Salvatore Girone, left, and Massimiliano Latorre.

After a series of flip-flops, the Centre Monday told the Supreme Court that the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala would not be tried under the stringent anti-piracy law that would have seen them being sentenced to death.

However, Italy responded to this concession by forcefully arguing that the government’s decision had rendered “illegal” the entire probe conducted so far.

The court will now decide whether it can ratify the probe so far by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) or a fresh probe, as sought by Italy, would be called for.

As the hearing began Monday, Attorney General G E Vahanvati said the government had accepted the law minister’s opinion to drop charges under the stringent anti-piracy SUA law against the marines.

“The opinion of the law minister is that SUA will not be attracted in this case. The government has accepted it,” the AG told a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and J Chelameswar.

But senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the marines and the Republic of Italy, pointed out that the Ministry of Home Affairs had already sanctioned invoking SUA and that the government’s affidavit did not clearly say it would not be invoked in the chargesheet.

Vahanvati responded that there was no ambiguity on the issue anymore. “The government’s affidavit clearly says that in these circumstances, appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the chargesheet reflects this opinion,” he said.

However, Rohatgi went on to question the very jurisdiction of the NIA as the investigating agency after it had been decided to drop SUA.

“If SUA goes, the entire investigation by the NIA goes. NIA cannot probe the cases under the Indian Penal Code. NIA was brought in only because of SUA. So why should we go to trial like this?” he argued.

Rohatgi contended that after a decision to drop the charges, NIA’s investigation had no sanction of law and the marines could not be sent to trial on the basis of a legally flawed probe.

Vahanvati, however, countered the submission, saying the previous SC order wanted a “neutral” agency to investigate the case and hence NIA was roped in. He said that NIA’s investigation could now be ratified by a court order.

Rohatgi opposed this and asked the bench to decide the issue after hearing both parties. The court has now listed the matter after three weeks, giving time to Italy to file an application to challenge the NIA probe and to the government to respond.

The petition, filed jointly by Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini and marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, has sought direction to the Centre to expedite the proceedings in the case or discharge the marines. They also challenged invoking of SUA, saying it was against the SC order that allowed proceedings only under the Maritime Zone Act, IPC, CrPC and UNCLOS.

Later in the day, Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said: “This is not a bilateral issue between India and Italy. It is a legal issue about ensuring that those who are charged with the death of Indian nationals are held to account for it in accordance with Indian law.”

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  1. Satish Chandra
    Feb 24, 2014 at 8:51 am
    The deaths of Rajiv and Indira did not matter, only the crimes against Satish Chandra matter. Both partited in the CIA’s crimes against me and both were killed by CIA-RAW because of my influence on them. I was the target in killing them; they themselves did not matter. Nehru was a lifelong British agent, Indira and Rajiv worked for the CIA and so do all Indian politicians. Narendra Modi should be whipped and hanged for giving a bouquet of roses to an American diplomat in exchange for a strip search and cavity search of an Indian diplomat. P. Chidambaram should be whipped and hanged for speaking positively about Harvard University where the world’s greatest scientist and greatest Indian of all time was publicly tortured for being an Indian. The Italian woman and son should be whipped and hanged for partiting in crimes against him with the help of the CIA’s 24-hour satellite surveillance of him for the past 37 years. Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee should be whipped and hanged for ociating with CIA-RAW agent Hazare, a follower of M. K. hi who was a lifelong British agent and a homoual who wrote to his white master “How completely you have taken possession of my body; it is slavery with a vengeance”. You do not shake hands with any representative of a country whose potion will be made to eat one another till no one remains alive. Filthy s Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram and Raghuram Rajan made India a beggar and slave at the G-20 urging “advanced nations, like the US, to take heed of countries vulnerable to the stimulus withdrawal” and “advanced nations must recognise the impact of their monetary policy decisions on other economies and "be prepared to act if things get out of kilter" “. Why? Because “The reduction in stimulus, known as tapering, may affect capital flows to emerging markets and impact their currencies”. Why do you want to give ownership and control of India to foreign enemies when India has all the investment capital it wants by simply printing the money which is what the U.S. is doing stealing my proposal about money -- see ‘How India’s Economy Can Grow 30% Per Year or More’ : HowIndiasEconomyCanGrowDOTblogspotDOTcom ? These filthy s Manmohan Singh and Raghuram Rajan must also be whipped and hanged along with filthy s Amartya Sen, Subramanian Swamy -- who were both brought to Harvard and one of them given a Nobel prize expressly to provide cover for the crimes against me -- and anyone else in public life you can think of. It is not too late to whip and hang filthy s Vajpayee and George Fernandes both of whom have been faking illness and an inability to speak to avoid answering questions about their partition in the CIA’s crimes against me. Nor is it too late to whip and hang filthy Ram Jethmalani, who was also brought to Harvard to provide cover for crimes against me and rewarded with a half a million dollar per year law practice and filthy L. K Advani who, while Home Minister, was brought, under pain of being prosecuted for the Babri Masjid demolition, to C.I.A. Headquarters to make India’s Home Ministry a partint in the C.I.A.’s crimes against me. Filthy Kejriwal wants to provide a few services at lower rates but my proposal about money shows how to provide all goods and services free of charge to everyone. Filthy M. Karunanidhi should be whipped and hanged; he was having Indian currency printed in China with the help of the Reserve Bank of India chief to provide some freebies to the people of Tamil Nadu as I described in my press releases but kept the crimes against me covered up otherwise everything could be provided free of charge to everyone in India. Filthy Jayalalitha should be whipped and hanged for saying she has a vision for India but keeping quiet about the crimes against me because of which India will remain poor, weak and enslaved despite her vision. IndiasLegitimateRulerSatishChandraDOTblogspotDOTcom3:50am