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Govt plans to end ambiguity on probe agencies in high seas

To end ambiguity over who will probe crimes committed in international waters, the government is planning to designate agencies empowered to investigate unlawful activities offshore.



New Delhi: To end ambiguity over who will probe crimes committed in international waters, the government is planning to designate agencies empowered to investigate unlawful activities offshore.

The move comes in the wake of Italy challenging in Supreme Court the authority of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe killing of an Indian fishermen duo off Kerala coast by two Italian marines, currently in judicial custody. One of them, however, is in Italy due to medical reasons.

The Home Ministry has started inter-ministerial consultations to identify agencies of the central government that can investigate various types of offences in the international waters, according to documents accessed by PTI.

The comments have been sought from ministries like External Affairs, Petroleum, Shipping, Mines and Department of Fisheries because at present there is no clarity which agency is empowered under existing maritime laws to enforce and investigate offences committed in both territorial and international waters.

In the case related to the incident involving Italian marines Latorre and Girone on board ship 'Enrica Lexie' off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012, Rome had challenged NIA's jurisdiction to probe crimes committed in high seas.

It had also challenged NIA's initial move to slap stringent anti-terror law -- Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platform on Continental Shelf Act (SUA), 2002 -- saying that the offence was not a terror act but a simple murder. Later, the NIA had withdrawn slapping SUA against the two marines.

From Zee News

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