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Italian marines charged with murder,PM Mario Monti calls up Khurshid

Marines face a potential death sentence,which could compromise India's promise to Italy.

Written by PTI | New Delhi |
April 5, 2013 4:00:41 pm

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a murder case against two Italian Marines for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast last year.

The Home Ministry had handed over the case to NIA through an order last evening. The NIA submitted the FIR before the Special NIA court today.

The NIA has booked the marines – Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone – under sections 302 (Murder),307 (Attempt to murder),427 (mischief) along with section 34 (Common intent) of IPC.

The agency also booked them under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act,2002.

The law deals with cargo ships,maritime navigational facilities whose personnel indulge in offences committed in sea. The maximum penalty in this section is death in case the action by those onboard has resulted in killing.

The agency has alleged fishermen Jelastin and Pinku were shot dead by the two the two marines onboard ‘Enrica Lexie’ – an Italian ship,31 Nautical miles from North-West of Neendakara Costal Police Station,in Arabian Sea on February 15,2012.

The Home Ministry had handed over the case to NIA after the Supreme Court ruled that the Kerala government has no jurisdiction to prosecute the marines.

The NIA will investigate the case from the beginning and file the charge sheet in a NIA special court or any other special court to be set up by the government in consultation with the apex court,Home Ministry sources said.

The apex court on January 18 had said that the marines be shifted to Delhi and be under its ‘custody’ till the Centre constitutes a special court to hold their trial.

“The incident of firing from the Italian vessel on the Indian shipping vessel having occurred within the Contiguous Zone,the Union of India is entitled to prosecute the two Italian marines under the criminal justice system prevalent in the country,” the bench had said.

Italian PM speaks to Khurshid on Marines issue

Meanwhile,Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti today called up External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to discuss the case relating to two Italian marines who will face trial for allegedly killing Indian fishermen.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura also met Khurshid today to discuss developments in the case following the lifting of restrictions on the Italian envoy by the Supreme Court.

Khurshid provided Mistura an update of the developments since their meeting last month,official sources said.

He also informed the Minister of the steps being taken in compliance with the Supreme Court directions at the last hearing and intentions of the government to inform the apex court on April 16 of the efforts made to constitute a Special Court,the sources added.

Following the meeting,Italian Prime Minister,who is also holding charge of Foreign Ministry,had a telephonic conversation with Khurshid on the same subject,the sources said.

The Supreme Court had on April 2 vacated its order restraining Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India following the return of the two Italian marines to face trial here as per his commitment to the court.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir vacated its March 14 order by which it had restrained the Ambassador from leaving the country after the Italian government had refused to send back the marines.

The Bench had also pulled up the Centre for not setting up special court for conducting proceedings against the marines as directed by it on January 18.

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