NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday granted permission to the two Italian marines, facing trial for killing two fishermen off Kerala in February 2012, to extend their bail bond. Senior advocate K T S Tulsi appearing for the marines pleaded for the extension of the duo’s bail bond, which was allowed by the Bench.
The court is hearing the plea of marines challenging the NIA’s jurisdiction to prosecute them. Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone,who were part of a security team protecting a privately-owned cargo ship, claim that they mistook the fishermen for pirates.
The government had handed over the investigation to the NIA. The NIA registered an FIR on April 4, 2012 charging the two marines with “murder by firing” under Section 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 427 (mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) besides Section 3 of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act 2002 (SUA).
India had invoked Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act(SUA) to back claims that it had the jurisdiction to try the marines here. Italy, however, had strongly opposed India invoking the law, arguing that it would amount to treating the men as “terrorists”. It had also recalled its Ambassador to New Delhi in protest against the delay in the two-year-old case.
After flip-flops, the Centre had informed the apex court that the accused would not be tried under the stringent anti-piracy law that would have seen them being sentenced to death. Meanwhile, the court stayed the criminal trial against the marines before the Special Court here. The Centre on Monday said that it has taken a series of initiatives to make health care provisions for workers more effective.