CMM of Patiala House Court to try Italian marines

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 Italian marines
New Delhi, Mar 25: The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of the Patiala House Court in the national capital will try the Italian marines who have been charged with shooting dead two fishermen in Feb 2012.

The Press Trust of India quoted sources in the Delhi High Court as saying that Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Amit Bansal will conduct the trial of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone.

The duo were part of the security detachment in the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie when a fishing trawler 'Saint Antony' approached the tanker arund 4.30 p.m on Feb 15, 2012. According to Latorre and Girone, they thought that pirates were mounting an attack on Enrica Lexie and hence fired some warning shots.

However, the assumption of the marines was completely wrong. The men on board the small trawler were not pirates, just a group of poor fishermen. Two of them namely Gelastine alias Valentine and Ajesh Binki were killed in the unprovoked firing.

The Kerala Police registered murder cases against the marines in this connection. They also took both Girone and Latorre into custody. Rome protested the arrests, claiming that Enrica Lexie was in international waters at the time of the shooting incident and therefore the matter cannot be taken up by any court in India.

The Kerala government rejected this and stressed that the marines killed Gelastine and Binki in India's territorial waters. Though the state demanded that the District Sessions Court in Kollam should be allowed to hear the case, the Supreme Court asked the Centre earlier this year to set up a special court in Delhi in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

The Centre initially did not heed the apex court. Last month, Latorre and Girone went to their homeland to cast their votes in the Italian elections. On Feb 22, the Supreme Court chided the UPA government for "dragging its feet" on the special court issue.

At last, the Centre urged the Delhi High Court on Mar 23 to designate a court here that can hold the trial of the marines.

OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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