Govt wants to hand over Italian marines case to NIA

New Delhi, March 30: The Indian government is likely to hand over the case related to the killing of two fishermen from Kerala by two Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). It will also approach the Supreme Court to clarify doubts on carrying out the trial of the two accused marines who recently returned to India.

A big diplomatic row had broken out between New Delhi and Rome after the latter refused to allow the duo to come to India to face the trial after they had gone home to participate in the national poll.

Political quarters believe that the Indian government made the move to show its seriousness in ensuring that the marines are tried according to the laws of the country and that international treaties do not undermine the national law.

Sources said the government's strategy is based on internal consultations between the home and law ministries, wherein it was proposed that a review petition be filed in the apex court to project that the Centre has jurisdiction to hold the trial in India.

An internal note prepared by the two ministries says that India's legal stand on maritime safety and territorial water are not against any UN convention or treaty. Both ministries have pointed out that as per the Safety of Maritime Navigation Act, passed in 2002, India has complete jurisdiction in the case.

The note further says that the government is in favour of transferring the case to the NIA, which may conduct further investigation and submit its final report before the court designated to handle the case.

It has also been added that the apex court has left the issue of whether India can prosecute the Italian nationals open. The court has said that the accused can raise the issue of jurisdiction before the trial court.

The home ministry said that the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, which has been referred to by the apex court, does not apply to this particular case for the former deals with piracy on high seas. The shooting case, on the other hand, took place within 20.4 nautical miles, which falls within India's contiguous zone.

OneIndia News

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