Hand over Italian marines case to NIA: BJP
New Delhi: BJP on Monday asked the Centre under what "deal" it had provided an assurance to Italy that no death sentence will be given to the two marines, facing trial for killing two Indian fishermen, and said they should be tried as per maritime laws which envisage stricter punishment.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said that the two Italian marines- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone- should be tried under the "Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 and not the Indian Penal Code.
"Under this Act, murder attracts only death penalty. But the marines are being tried under the IPC where a life sentence or a death sentence can be given. This has been done to somewhat dilute the punishment," Lekhi said.
BJP demanded that the case should be given to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is a "specialised body", instead of handing over the probe to CBI which has been repeatedly "misused" by the UPA government.
Alluding to Congress President Sonia Gandhi`s Italian origins, BJP claimed that whenever a matter concerning European nation comes up the government acts differently.
"We have seen this repeatedly when Sweden comes into the picture or Italy comes into the picture, `The family` also comes into the picture. The family becomes very relevant when we are dealing with Italian marines who have killed Indians," Lekhi said.
She alleged that the "entire structure", a reference to the government, has been used to suit certain purposes.
"We would be very interested to know what assurances have been given by the Indian government," Lekhi said.
BJP maintained that the marines are being tried under the IPC to give them a life sentence and send them back to Italy to undergo the imprisonment. This would let them get away lightly, Lekhi said.
The two Italian marines arrested in connection with the killing of the fishermen in February last year, had returned to India on March 22 to meet the deadline set by the Supreme Court.
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