The Ministry of Home Affairs is likely to deny sanction to prosecute two Italian marines under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA).
The NIA is probing the February 15, 2012 killings of two Kerala fishermen -- Ajesh Binki and Valentine alias Gelastine -- allegedly by the marines -- Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Lattore. According to sources, the ministry may ask the NIA not to press SUA charges while filing a chargesheet against the marines. The SUA extends to the whole of India including the limit of territorial waters, the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde last week chaired a meeting with Law Minister Kapil Sibal and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to discuss the contentious issue.
Though the punishment under the charge is the death penalty, India would like to avoid it keeping in mind the assurance given to Italy to get the marines back for trial. The NIA re-registered the case on April 4 last year under relevant IPC sections 302, 307, and SUA section 3. Italy appealed to the SC for the marines’ release as the trial had been delayed.