The NIA also registered a case against the marines under Sec 3 of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act. If the special court that is supposed to try Girone and Latorre finds them guilty under this Act, the accused could be awarded capital punishment.
After the Supreme Court allowed the duo to go to their homeland for four weeks so that they could exercise their franchise in the Italian elections on Feb 24 and 25, Rome had initially refused to send the marines back as it feared that the trial court might give them the death penalty.
When Latorre and Girone finally returned to India on Mar 22, Italian deputy foreign minister Staffan de Mistura claimed to have received assurances from the Indian government to the effect that the marines would not be sentenced to death by the court here for shooting dead Valentine aka Gelastine and Ajesh Binki.
Both the victims were on board a fishing trawler 'Saint Antony' that had drifted near the Italian tanker MV Enrica Lexie around 4.30 pm on Feb 15, 2012. The marines whose responsibility was to protect the tanker's crew from harm are said to have opened fire on the mistaken assumption that the fishermen were pirates.
The Kerala Police invoked the murder charge against the two accused under Sec 302 apart from two charges under Sec 427 (mischief) and Sec 34 (common intention) of the IPC. The FIR registered by the NIA on Thursday mentioned all these three charges but significantly added another under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act.