A Delhi court today fixed for February 20, 2015, hearing of the case involving two Italian marines, facing murder charges in India, after it was informed that one of the accused has been allowed by the Supreme Court to travel to his country for medical treatment for four months.
The matter came up for hearing before Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Neena Bansal Krishna and the counsel appearing for accused Massimiliano Latorre, who had suffered brain stroke on August 31, told the judge about the apex court’s order.
The apex court, on September 12, had allowed Latorre to travel to Italy for treatment after the Centre had said that in principle it has no objection to his plea. The apex court, however, had said that its order will be operational only after Latorre gives an unequivocal and unambiguous undertaking of dates of departure and arrival back to India.
The case pertains to the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by Italian marines Latorre and Salvatore Girone on board ship ‘Enrica Lexie’ off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. The apex court on January 18, 2013, had directed National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the case against the two marines and had asked the Centre to set up a special court to conduct trial on a day-to-day basis after transferring the case from a court in Kerala to national capital.
The accused had then moved the apex court challenging the jurisdiction of NIA to prosecute and probe the case after the government had decided to withdraw their prosecution under the stringent anti-piracy SUA law that attracts death penalty as maximum punishment. The Centre on February 24 this year had told the apex court that the two marines would not be prosecuted under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA).
It had said that contentious issue of SUA was resolved with Italy after the Law Minister had opined that provisions of the anti-piracy law are not attracted in this case. The NIA had earlier told the trial court that it was ready with the charge sheet in the case. The marines were arrested on February 19, 2012.