The Home Ministry is likely to transfer the Italian marines’ case from the National Investigation Agency to the Central Bureau of Investigation, amid reports that the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 may be dropped when the two are chargesheeted.
In its FIR, the NIA charged Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 427 (mischief) and 34 (common intent), besides slapping the stringent Act, which deals with an offence punishable only with the death sentence.
As India has assured Italy that the two marines will not be awarded the death sentence for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast last year, the Act may not find mention when they are chargesheeted, say informed sources. Moreover, the NIA is mandated to investigate only scheduled offences.
Decision only after April 16
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Home Secretary R.K. Singh will take up the matter when they return from Russia on Friday. A decision is expected only after April 16, when the Centre makes its submission in the case before the Supreme Court, according to the sources. Significantly, after the marines returned from Italy, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Parliament last month that New Delhi had assured Rome that the two would not face the death penalty.