New Delhi: The Home Ministry is likely to deny sanction to prosecute two Italian marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen under a law which provides only death penalty.
If the Home Ministry denies sanction to NIA to prosecute the two Italian marines under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA), the case will go back to the Kerala Police and the accused will be tried under IPC.
Under SUA, if anyone causes death, he or she will be awarded only death penalty but India has already assured Italy that the offence would not warrant death under established jurisprudence.
Official sources said the Home Ministry was mulling over two options -- outright rejection of National Investigation Agency`s plea for sanction to prosecute the two marines under SUA or informing the court that the murder of two Kerala fishermen could not be considered as a scheduled offence.
The Supreme Court has handed over the probe to NIA, which under law, is mandated to probe only scheduled offences.
Accused Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were on board Italian vessel `Enrica Lexie` and are now lodged in New Delhi`s Italy Embassy premises, allegedly shot dead the two fishermen on February 15, 2012.
NIA completed its probe after questioning various witnesses including four Italian marines, who were witness to the incident, through video conferencing after their refusal to come to India.
The Supreme Court had shifted the case to Delhi, saying Kerala Police have no jurisdiction over it and backed the government`s decision to hand over the case to NIA.