New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday deferred the pronouncement of its order on the question of National Investigating Agency's (NIA) jurisdiction to probe the case against two Italian marines who allegedly killed Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. The apex court, which had on April 16 posted the matter for order, said it will pass the order on Thursday. "We will pass the order on April 25," a bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justices AR Dave and Vikramajit Sen said.
Italy has questioned the jurisdiction of the NIA to probe the case against its two marines, a contention rejected by the government which had on the last hearing assured the court that the investigation will be completed within 60 days. Italy and its two marines had submitted that the NIA has no jurisdiction to conduct the investigation as the charges which have been slapped on the marines are not covered by the NIA Act.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the marines, had argued the NIA can probe the case only if charges under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002, are also slapped against the marines and the same cannot be done in view of the apex court verdict to prosecute them only under the IPC, CrPC, Maritime Zones Act and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Attorney General GE Vahanvati had objected to Italian government's contention saying the NIA can probe the case and assured the court that the investigation will be completed in 60 days. "NIA is not restricted under the NIA Act. The CBI is extremely over-burdened and the government chose NIA as an institution of the Centre to probe the case," Vahanvati had said.
The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were onboard an Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' when they had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.