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MHA in a fix over move to try marines under SUA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sought the home ministry’s nod to prosecute the two Italian marines under ‘Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf’ Act (SUA) for killing fishermen off Kerala coast on 15 February, 2012.

Sources said the ministry is in a fix over the NIA move as under SUA, if anyone causes death, then he or she will be awarded with only a death penalty but India has already assured Italy that the offence would not warrant death under established jurisprudence.

Faced with the peculiar situation, the home ministry is planning to refer the case to the Attorney General for legal opinion.

There is another suggestion that after slapping SUA, the NIA may tell the trial court not to award the accused death penalty if found guilty, citing India’s commitment to Italy.

Accused Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were on board Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ and now lodged in New Delhi’s Italy Embassy premises, allegedly shot dead the two fishermen off Kerala coast.

The Supreme Court had shifted the case to Delhi, saying Kerala Police have no jurisdiction over the case and backed the government’s decision to hand over the case to NIA.
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