Italian marines Massimilliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, accused of allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast, informed the Supreme Court on Monday that framing of charges against them under an anti-piracy law is in violation of the court’s earlier order.
Italian Defence Minister Mario Mauro, who arrived here early morning, went directly to the embassy.
Mauro’s presence was being seen as a signal of strong emotions that this case has generated in Italy.
He is scheduled to leave Delhi at 4 am on Tuesday.
Appearing for marines, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi told a Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde that in view of an apex court judgment, the two could not be tried under the Suppression of Unlawful Act (SUA) against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Law.
He told the court that according to judgment delivered by then Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, the marines could only be tried under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
However, Attorney General G E Vahanvati told the court that Justice J Chelameswar, while agreeing with then Chief Justice Kabir, had in a separate judgment said the marines could be tried under the SUA.
He placed before the court the notification by which the government has said that trial of Italian marines under the SUA would be under its new provision which would not attract death penalty in the event of them being convicted.
Rohtagi said the National Investigation Agency could not have investigated the case as any probe by it in such matter would invoke the SUA.
In an indication of the government’s resolve, Vahanvati said the two marines will have to face a trial.