India on Saturday clarified to Italy that two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast, may not get death penalty.
The fresh clarification from the Indian government comes in the wake of the latest Supreme court order “being read out of context”, leading to confusion among various sections including the Italian government.
The marines may not face death penalty — the issue the Italians have been raising consistently with India — as Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation Act 2002 (SUA)is not in play now.
Italians have raised concerns at the highest levels — even at the prime ministerial level — about their marines facing death penalty.
Italians have been arguing that SUA goes against the clarification that the marines’ crime doesn’t come under “rarest of rare cases” to attract death penalty.
Top sources said that the SC’s January 18 judgment remains in operation and that the NIA has been designated by the central government to investigate the matter pursuant to the SC order.
Furthermore, the Italians have been told that the FIR filed at the coastal police station at Neendakara in Kerala will be the basis for the investigation.
“It follows that the latest FIR re-registered by the NIA under the NIA Act is redundant and for the present the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation Act 2002 has not been invoked,” top government sources said while explaining about the government’s clarification to Italy.
“No question arises of death penalty being imposed in the circumstances of the case, if the court was to return a verdict of guilty,” they said.