New Delhi: NIA, probing the killing of Kerala fishermen allegedly by two Italian marines, may drop a stringent provision of law that entails only death sentence for the offence of murder. Home Ministry officials hinted that even though the National Investigation Agengy (NIA) has booked the marines under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002, the charge may be dropped while filing the charge sheet.
Under this Act, offence of murder is punishable only with death sentence. "NIA will not press for death sentence against the marines - Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone - as per the assurance given by India to Italy even if they are convicted of murder," an official said.
However, officials said a special provision in the five-decade-old Extradition Act will not be helpful to the marines to escape murder charge as they were neither fugitives who could be punished with a maximum of life imprisonment nor extradited by Italy where death penalty has been abolished.
They said this quoting provision under Section 34C of The Extradition Act, 1962. "But we will honour whatever assurance has been given by India to Italy," the official said.