For perfect absolution, wrap yourself in the flag.
Legal eagle: Ramu Bhaiya, what's this I'm hearing? You've got mixed up in another murder case?
Ramu Bhaiya: It's the 149th FIR against me. I'm looking forward to scoring a double century.
Legal eagle: You did get the alleged murder done through your alleged minions, right?
Ramu: Of course, no way it can be traced back to me. But I've had to give up being a minister.
Legal eagle: Perhaps I've found a smarter way to kill people. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Ramu: Really? Wonderful.
Chief henchman: I love it when you speak hypothetically.
Legal eagle: I'm thinking maybe this Italian marines case could help you a lot.
Henchman: Allegedly thinking, right?
Ramu: Eh? I mean allegedly eh?
Legal eagle: Of course. What the Italian marines case shows is that if you kill people in seas beyond the nation's territorial waters, then courts in India may not have the jurisdiction to try the killers.
Ramu: Ooh, excellent. I'll tell my guys to bump off my political foes in international waters from now on.
Henchman: Boss, I'm off to hire a boat.
Legal eagle: Wait, not so fast. The hitmen will have to be foreigners.
Ramu: No problem, I know some gangs in Chicago.
Henchman: You chaps still have that racist colonial mentality, thinking foreigners make better killers than Indians. We've progressed a lot, you know and we're world class now.
Legal eagle: All I'm saying is that foreigners won't be tried in India.
Ramu: Hmmm, the US dollar is too strong, why don't I just go to Goa and talk to the Russian mafia?
Legal eagle: I knew this strong dollar policy would hurt US exports. You must talk to the Italians.
Ramu: Yes, plenty of unemployment in Italy, I could hire killers cheap.
Henchman: They also have a glorious tradition - the Mafia, the Cosa Nostra, the Camorra. As well as corrupt politicians.
Ramu: Sounds almost like home. Ok then, we'll hire some Italians.
Henchman: I'll buy a couple of yachts - one to put the victims in, the other to shoot them from.
Legal eagle: Don't forget to fly the Italian flag. You can then kill as many folks as you like, under suspicion of them being Somali pirates.
Ramu: Fantastic. I'll draw up a list right away. Do you think we can entice Mayawati aboard the yacht?
Henchman: I'll try, boss. Maybe she likes deep sea fishing. But could you pass her off as a Somali pirate?
Legal eagle: I foresee some difficulties there.
Ramu: Never mind. We'll draw up a list of my rivals who look like Somali pirates, lure them to the yacht on the pretext of a party, then take them to the deep seas and shoot them from the other yacht flying the Italian flag.
Henchman: I'm off to hire some Italians. Could we name the yacht 'La Dolce Vita'?
Legal eagle: Don't forget to tell them that even if they're caught, they can go home for Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries and during elections and never come back.
Henchman: Si, boss. Ciao.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal