A city court on Wednesday ordered framing of charges against 20 accused in the 1996 Malta boat tragedy, in which 170 Indian illegal immigrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
The accused include two policemen.
“I have found prima facie evidence against all the accused persons to proceed with the criminal trial,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate said.
The court observed that no case was made out against the accused under the Immigration Act and Passport Act.
On December 25, 1996, 565 illegal passengers from various countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had boarded the ship for Italy which met with an accident near Malta, 93 km off the coast of Sicily.
Of them, 290 passengers, including 170 Indians drowned.
The CBI had alleged that the Indian immigrants had left Delhi in September 1996 on the assurance of travel agents that they would be smuggled into various European countries.