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NIA registers murder case against Italian marines

April 05, 2013 16:31 IST

The National Investigation Agency has registered a murder case against two Italian marines for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast last year.

The home ministry had handed over the case to the NIA through an order last evening. The NIA submitted the first information report before the special NIA court on Friday.

The NIA has booked the marines -- Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone -- under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 427 (mischief) along with section 34 cCommon intent) of the Indian Penal Code.

The NIA also booked them under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002.

The law deals with cargo ships, maritime navigational facilities whose personnel indulge in offences committed in sea. The maximum penalty in this section is death in case the action by those onboard has resulted in killing.

The agency has alleged fishermen Jelastin and Pinku were shot dead by the two the two marines onboard ‘Enrica Lexie’ -- an Italian ship, 31 Nautical miles from north-west of Neendakara costal police station, in the Arabian Sea on February 15, 2012.

The home ministry had handed over the case to the NIA after the Supreme Court ruled that the Kerala government has no jurisdiction to prosecute the marines.

The NIA will investigate the case from the beginning and file the chargesheet in a NIA special court or any other special court to be set up by the government in consultation with the apex court, home ministry sources said.

The apex court on January 18 had said that the marines be shifted to Delhi and be under its 'custody' till the Centre constitutes a special court to hold their trial. "The incident of firing from the Italian vessel on the Indian shipping vessel having occurred within the contiguous zone, the Union of India is entitled to prosecute the two Italian marines under the criminal justice system prevalent in the country," the bench had said.

Meanwhile, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti on Friday called up External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to discuss the case relating to two Italian marines.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura also met Khurshid to discuss developments in the case following the lifting of  restrictions on the Italian envoy by the Supreme Court.

Khurshid provided Mistura an update of the developments since their meeting last month, official sources said. He also informed the minister of the steps being taken in compliance with the Supreme Court directions at the last hearing and intentions of the government to inform the apex court on April 16 of the efforts made to constitute a special court, the sources added.

Following the meeting, the Italian PM, who is also holding charge of foreign ministry, had a telephonic conversation with Khurshid on the same subject, the sources said.

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