Even as it seemed that the transfer of case of Italian marines to the NIA was a fait accompli, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday that no formal decision has yet been taken on which agency will lead the probe.
“A decision has not been taken on the investigating agency. No formal decision has been taken,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters.
Earlier, the Home Ministry sources had claimed that the case had been handed over to the NIA. But, Akbaruddin said that “no formal notification” has been issued so far. Noting that there had been a delay in constituting the special court, the MEA spokesperson noted that since the court has to be “unique which does not follow a pattern previously and we have to be cautious and careful and act with circumspection as it was open to various legal interpretation and questioning.”
Home Secretary R K Singh is expected to meet his counterpart in South Block and the NIA chief to work out the terms of reference for the central body to take over the probe. Efforts are being made to ensure that charges against the two marines are not framed under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act 2002, under which murder is punishable with death sentence.