No gallows for Italian marines as MHA decides to dilute charges against them

Earlier, the Home Ministry had sanctioned this case under Section 3 (G) (i) of SUA which says anyone causing death to any person shall be punished with death.

New Delhi | Published:February 7, 2014 8:12 pm
Italian Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, allegedly shot dead the two fishermen on February 15, 2012 off Kerala coast. (AP) Italian Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, allegedly shot dead the two fishermen on February 15, 2012 off Kerala coast. (AP)

In an U-turn in Kerala fishermen killing case, the Union Home Ministry on Friday asked NIA to dilute the charges against the two accused Italian marines from murder to violence, thus sparing them from the possibility of getting death penalty.

Revising its earlier decision, the Home Ministry gave sanction to National Investigation Agency (NIA) to prosecute the Italian marines under the new provision of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA).

The provision [3.1.(a)] says whoever unlawfully and intentionally commits an act of violence against a person on board a fixed platform or a ship which is likely to endanger the safety of the fixed platform or, as the case may be, safe navigation of the ship shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

Earlier, the Home Ministry had sanctioned this case under Section 3 (G) (i) of SUA which says anyone causing death to any person shall be punished with death.

The decision, sources said, will be conveyed to the Supreme Court on Monday as promised by the government.

The decision is expected to be a huge relief to Italian goverment which has been strongly opposing the decision of slapping the stringet provision which invites death of the accused if proved guilty.

NIA has sought sanction to prosecute the two marines – Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone – under SUA.

The Marines, who were on-board Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ and are now lodged in New Delhi’s Italian Embassy premises, allegedly shot dead the two fishermen on February 15, 2012 off Kerala coast.

NIA had completed its probe after questioning witnesses, including four Italian marines, through video conferencing after their refusal to come to India.

The Supreme Court had shifted the case to Delhi, saying Kerala Police have no jurisdiction over it and backed the government’s decision to hand over the case to NIA.

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  1. B
    Brijkhanna
    Feb 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm
    This entire case is based on misjudgement on the part of Italian Marines who acted in haste without properly verifying whether the crew of fishing boats were actually pirates. They ought to have given a warning shot before shooting at them. Now as it is they should not be tried and convicted under manslaughter charges. But should be fined a hefty amount which may go victims families as compensation. When Union Carbide plant tragedy happened, then the CEO of the Union Carbide International was set free under instructions from Govt of India headed by Late Shri Rajiv hi and the person concerned was escorted to the Airport by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Late Shri Arju Singh. Why notGovt. this stand in this case.
    Reply
    1. B
      Brijkhanna
      Feb 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm
      This entire case is based on misjudgement on the part of Italian Marines who acted in haste without properly verifying whether the crew of fishing boats were actually pirates. They ought to have given a warning shot before shooting at them. Now as it is they should not be tried and convicted under manslaughter charges. But should be fined a hefty amount which may go victims families as compensation. When Union Carbide plant tragedy happened, then the CEO of the Union Carbide International was set free under instructions from Govt of India headed by Late Shri Rajiv hi and the person concerned was escorted to the Airport by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Late Shri Arju Singh. Why notGovt. this stand in this case.
      Reply
      1. D
        Dinesh
        Feb 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm
        Why not p a law which gives every foreigner the 'Freedom to Shoot' act. This way Sonia can allow her countrymen to walk free.
        Reply
        1. D
          Dinesh
          Feb 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm
          Why not p a law which gives every foreigner the 'Freedom to Shoot' act. This way Sonia can allow her countrymen to walk free.
          Reply
          1. H
            Harish Kiran
            Feb 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm
            Well the Augasta Westland chopper scam convict didn't named any Congress men and the Dynasty. This is how it is done......No value for Indian lives and Italy will dictate what punishment to be given and what not, not the court of India. Hail the Congress and the Italian Scamgress at its helm.
            Reply
            1. H
              Harish Kiran
              Feb 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm
              Well the Augasta Westland chopper scam convict didn't named any Congress men and the Dynasty. This is how it is done......No value for Indian lives and Italy will dictate what punishment to be given and what not, not the court of India. Hail the Congress and the Italian Scamgress at its helm.
              Reply
              1. M
                Mittal
                Feb 7, 2014 at 7:31 pm
                So the govt. can dilute charges at will and the Supreme Court has no objection with that. No wonder India is seen as a banana republic. Was it done because of the Italian connection???
                Reply
                1. M
                  Mittal
                  Feb 7, 2014 at 7:31 pm
                  So the govt. can dilute charges at will and the Supreme Court has no objection with that. No wonder India is seen as a banana republic. Was it done because of the Italian connection???
                  Reply
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