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MHA Nod to Slap SUA Charges against Italian Marines

After an over-a-week-long discussion with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Law and Justice

Published: 21st January 2014 07:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2014 08:37 AM   |  A+A-

Italian Marines2PTI

After an over-a-week-long discussion with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Home Affairs has granted sanction to the NIA to prosecute the two Italian marines, accused of killing Indian fishermen, under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA), which attracts the death penalty.

Sources said the NIA would wait for the Supreme Court’s direction in the case before filing a chargesheet in the case.

“The NIA investigation is complete but since the case is being heard by the Supreme Court, we will wait for the court’s decision before filing a chargesheet. Sanction was granted after seeking legal opinion from the law ministry and after further discussions with the Ministry of External affairs,” a source said.

The two marines last week appealed to the apex court, asking for the dropping of charges as the trial in the case has been delayed. Italy also told the court that invoking an anti-terrorism law - the SUA - against the marines would tantamount to the country being termed a terrorist state. An MHA official said various other options were also discussed but since the NIA was mandated to investigate only scheduled offences, it couldn’t drop SUA charges from the chargesheet. He said there had already been so much delay in the trial and  transferring the case again to police or the CBI would be embarrassing.  The NIA re-registered the case on April 4 under IPC sections 302, 307, and SUA Section 3, which is a scheduled offence.

“But, keeping in mind the assurance given to the Italian government, the NIA will tell the trial court not to award the death penalty to the accused marines,” an official said. In last January, the court said the Kerala government had no jurisdiction to prosecute the marines.

Also read:

Efforts on to Resolve Italian Marines Case

Make Genuine Attempt to Resolve Italian Marines Issue: SC to Government

Italian Marines to Request Formal Charges from SC

MHA Nod to Prosecute Italian Marines under SUA Unlikely 



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