After handing over the Italian marines’ case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is likely to hold a meeting with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to discuss the procedural issues related to the fresh probe into the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15 last year.
“The MHA will take up the issue of written assurance to Italy that the two accused will not face death penalty. The meeting is expected this week,” sources said.
It is learnt that MHA officials had a meeting with NIA sleuths on Tuesday and asked the anti-terror agency not to press for death sentence against the two marines -- Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Lattore.
“The NIA has been asked not to invoke the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf (SUA) Act, 2002, as it attracts death penalty in offence for causing death to a person. The Kerala police last year had filed a charge sheet against the two marines under the SUA Act,” the sources said.
An official said the prosecutors will not press for death penalty in the court as per the assurance given to Italy. “We cannot go back on the commitment given to a sovereign nation. If we do that, no country will cooperate with India in future in any such case,” he said.
Italian Envoy can Leave India: SC
The Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated its order restraining Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India as the Italian marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen have returned as per the undertaking given by the ambassador. A Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Anil R Dave and Justice Vikramajit Sen nullified the March 14 order the SC had issued after Italy refused to send back the marines.
“What about the Special Court? Why is it being delayed? Our intention was that the matter has to be heard expeditiously. After all, these persons are from outside. They can’t be kept here for no rhyme or reason,” the Bench asked the Attorney General. The Attorney General replied that there had been some misunderstanding at the ministerial level.
“Let the matter be listed on April 16 to enable the AG to file an affidavit on the steps taken to constitute a Special Court for trying the offence on a fast-track basis in terms of our order dated Jan 18,” the Bench added.