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Confusion over charges on marines; case may be given to CBI

Confusion prevails over the laws under which the Italian marine duo, accused of killing two Kerala fishermen, are to be prosecuted amid indications that the high-profile case may be handed over to CBI from NIA.

Government sources said as per the assurance given by India to Italy, the marines will not be given death sentence and hence the stringent Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 slapped against the duo will be dropped. Under this Act, offence of murder is punishable only with death sentence.

However, if Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone are not prosecuted under this law, the National Investigation Agency, which has been assigned to investigate the case, cannot probe it as the agency is mandated to investigate only scheduled offences. Therefore, sources said, if the stringent law is dropped, the NIA will have to give away the case and the case has to be handed over to another federal investigating agency – most probably CBI – for prosecuting the duo under IPC and CrPC.
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