The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday handed over the Italian marines case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to start a fresh probe into killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by the two marines - Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Lattore- off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.
The MHA announcement came months after the Supreme Court order on January 18 that the Kerala government had no jurisdiction to prosecute the two marines.
In its order, the Bench had said that the shooting incident took place at a distance of about 20.5 nautical miles from the coastline of Kerala which falls under the Contiguous Zone, over which the Kerala Government had no jurisdiction.
“Since the cause of action for the filing of the FIR occurred outside the jurisdiction of the Kerala Police under Section 154 of the CrPC, the FIR could have been lodged at Neendakara Police station, but that did not vest the Kerala Police with jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. It is the Union of India which was entitled under law to take up the investigation and to take further steps in the matter,” the Bench had stated.
Home Ministry sources said the anti-terror agency is empowered to investigate the cases under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf (SUA) Act 2002 and relevant sections of the Maritime Zones Act, 1976 and the IPC.
It is a fit case to be investigated by the NIA. As far as the issue of special court is concerned the ministry will discuss the matter with the apex court conveying that one of the NIA special courts could be notified for the speedy trial of this case and there is no need to set up another special court,” sources added.