New Delhi: Three days after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) handed over the Italian marines case to the National Investigative Agency (NIA), a case has finally been registered against them. The First Information Report (FIR) will be presented before the special court in Patiala House on Friday.
The MHA had on Monday asked the NIA to investigate the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by two Italian marines off the Kerala coast in February 2012. The move came following the Supreme Court's ruling that the Kerala government has no jurisdiction to prosecute the two. According to sources in the MHA, the NIA was supposed to investigate the case from the very beginning and seek all evidence collected by the Kerala police that conducted initial probe and charged marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone with murder.
The controversial case had seen India and Italy engage in a major diplomatic tussle last month after Rome refused to send back the marines. They had gone to cast their vote in the national elections after being granted permission by the apex court. The court allowed them to leave India after Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini gave a written assurance that they would return to face trial in India. But when Italy backtracked on its commitment, the Supreme Court banned Mancini from leaving India.
Finally, India prevailed as Italy was forced to send back the two murder accused but not before New Delhi assured Rome that the marines, if convicted, can serve their sentence in Italy. India has also told Italy that they would not face the death penalty and that they would be housed at the Italian embassy here during the trial.