Italian marines case: 'SC's verdict not a setback'
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Friday said the Supreme Court has upheld the basic position of the state government and the police in the shooting case involving Italian marines.
"They didn't quash the FIR of the Kerala police. So, the basic position of the state government and the state police has been upheld by the Supreme Court," Chandy told the media here.
"No, nothing, our basic position is that. But according to the law the Supreme Court pointed out that they must face the trial under maritime law. Ok," he added, when asked whether the verdict was a blow to the Kerala Government's effort to get justice for the victim's family.
Meanwhile, Dora, the wife of victim Jelestine, said the accused must be given the punishment they deserve.
"Whether it is here or outside Kerala, justice has to be delivered. They must be given the punishment they deserve. We have lost a life and we are deeply saddened," said Dora.
In a major setback to two Italian marines who have been accused of killing two Kerala fishermen in February last year, the Supreme Court earlier in the day said both will be tried by a special apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir.
Responding to a petition filed by the two Italian marines, the apex court maintained that the Kerala Government and its police force have no jurisdiction to try them as the incident took place in international waters.
The apex court said the case comes under the jurisdiction of the Government of India and only it can prosecute the two Italian nationals.
The apex court, however, said that a special court must be set up under the Chief Justice of India to prosecute them.
In their petitions, the marines argued that Kerala Police have no jurisdiction to register a case against them, as the incident took place in international waters.
The marines-- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone-- are currently out on bail and staying in Kollam, Kerala.
On December 22, the marines had left for Rome after the Kerala High Court permitted them to go for Christmas for two weeks. They came back on January 4 and surrendered their passports before a trial court in Kollam within hours of returning to India.
The marines were arrested on February 19 last for shooting to death two Indian fishermen -- Ajesh Binki (25) and Jelestine (45) from onboard merchant vessel ''Enrica Lexie'' off Alapuzha coast, ''mistaking'' them for Somali pirates.