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India drops anti-piracy charges against Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen

Published on Feb 24, 2014 6:43 PM
Italian special envoy Staffan de Mistura (R) and military attache Franco Faure walk on the premises of India's Supreme Court after a hearing in New Delhi on February 18, 2014. Italy recalled its ambassador to India on Tuesday after the Supreme Court in New Delhi delayed a decision on a trial for two Italian marines accused of shooting two fishermen during a security operation in February 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India has dropped a plan to use a tough anti-piracy law to prosecute two Italian marines who killed two fishermen, the Supreme Court heard on Monday, amid a diplomatic row.

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati told the court that the marines would instead be charged with unspecified offences under the country’s criminal code, which could be murder.

“The honourable law minister has recorded his opinion that provisions of the SUA Act (maritime and anti-piracy act) are not attracted in this case,” he told the top court.

However the case will again be delayed while the court examines whether India’s top National Investigation Agency, which usually handles matters of national security, was the right investigative body for the case.

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