Two Italian marines will now face multiple charges of murder, attempt to murder, destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and violating the anti-piracy law’s section dealing with violence, sources told HT.
“According to the amended sanction for prosecution given by Union ministry of home affairs, besides facing the trial under SUA (the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act) section dealing with violence, the marines will also face charges under section 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees or upwards) of the IPC,” said a home ministry source.
Therefore, the two Italian marines can still be technically awarded the capital punishment as they will face the charge of murder, but this case might not fall under the rarest of rare category of murder that will warrant death penalty.
Even after the fresh MHA sanction, Italy termed as “unacceptable” the amended SUA charge dealing with violence.
“The charge proposed by the Indian authorities is unacceptable,” Italian PM Enrico Letta said in a message on Twitter, adding: “Italy and the European Union will react.”
The NIA is waiting for the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing in the Supreme Court before filing its charges in the trial court.
Italian defence minister Mario Mauro also visited the two marines saying that the charges “do not hold” and criticising the “fragility” of India’s justice system.
(inputs from Jayanth Jacob)