No decision has been taken as yet on whether to grant sanction to NIA to prosecute two Italian marines, who allegedly killed two Kerala fishermen in Indian waters last year, under a law that entails only death penalty, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in New Delhi on Friday.
During his monthly press conference in New Delhi, he was asked questions about his meeting with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday.
“There were many issues discussed and as far as the issue of Italian marines is concerned, a decision will be taken in two to three days,” he said.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sought sanction to prosecute the two Italian marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone — under the ‘Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf’ Act (SUA), a provision which has only death penalty as punishment.
India has, however, given an assurance to Italy that the two would not be awarded death penalty.
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The two marines, who are now lodged at the Italian Embassy in New Delhi, were on board Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ when they allegedly shot dead two fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.
One of the suggestions emerging was that after pressing the charges under SUA, the NIA may tell the trial court not to award the accused death penalty if found guilty, citing India’s commitment to Italy.
The NIA completed its probe after questioning four Italian marines, who were witness to the incident, through video conferencing after their refusal to come to India.
Supreme Court had shifted the case to Delhi on grounds that Kerala Police had no jurisdiction over the case which was subsequently handed over to NIA.