New Delhi, March 31 :
A court here Monday adjourned, to July 31, the hearing in a case against two Italian marines allegedly involved in the killing of two Indian fishermen in 2012, after it was told the apex court ordered proceedings before the special court be kept in abeyance.
Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar adjourned the hearing after National Investigation Agency (NIA) lawyers and defence counsel apprised the court that that the apex court March 28 had said that the proceedings before the special court be kept in abeyance.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were arrested for killing two Indian fisherman off the coast of Kerala in February 2012, mistaking their fishing boat for a pirate vessel. The two are currently on bail.
The top court has sought response from the central government on the petition filed by the two marines challenging the jurisdiction of NIA to prosecute and probe the case.
This came after marines had moved the Supreme Court, informing that the Indian government had decided to withdraw their prosecution under the stringent anti-piracy SUA law that attracts death penalty as maximum punishment.
Defence counsel informed that the top court has not fixed any next date for hearing the matter pending before it and sought “sine die” adjournment of the matter.
NIA prosecutor Ahmed Khan, however, told the court that instead of adjourning the matter “sine die”, the case should be listed after three months.
The marines, posted onboard oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie, had fired at a fishing boat, suspecting that it carried pirates. Two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, were killed in the firing.
Italian officials say the marines merely fired warning shots into the sea. Italy also disputes India’s jurisdiction over the case, claiming the incident took place in international waters.