Millennium Post

Marines case: Italian govt questions NIA’s jurisdiction

In the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Italy questioned NIA’s jurisdiction to probe the case against its two marines for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Italian government contended before a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir that NIA, which has been asked by the central government to probe the case, has no jurisdiction to conduct the investigation as the charges which have been slapped on the marines are not covered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act.

He submitted that the NIA can probe the case only if charges under Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002, are also slapped against the marines. And the same cannot be done in view of the apex court verdict to prosecute them only under the IPC, CrPC, Maritime Zones Act and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Attorney General G E Vahanvati objected to the Italian government’s contention and said that NIA can probe the case and assured the court that the investigation will be completed in 60 days.

The court after hearing both sides adjourned the matter to 22 April for passing orders.

The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were on board an Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ when they had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on 15 February, last year.
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