By Aman Sharma
NEW DELHI: Contrary to Italy’s case that its two Marines killed two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012 out of mistaken identity, suspecting them to be pirates advancing towards the ship they were guarding, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claims to have proof that the Marines used deadly force without any provocation and that they had no reason to believe that the boat approaching them had pirates on board.
A senior NIA official has revealed to ET that this contention forms part of the charge-sheet readied by the agency but not filed so far as Italy has challenged India’s jurisdiction to try them and the matter is pending in the SC.
“The Marines committed straight murder. They fired at a fishing boat without any provocation and without any real indication of it being a pirate boat,” the official said, revealing details of the charge-sheet. He said no warning shots or mini-flares were fired by the Marines in the air to warn the fishermen who had never opened any fire. “20 shots were straightway fired from automatic weapons at the fishermen in the boat which was just 125 meters away from the ship,” the NIA official said, adding that it is not possible that the Marines could mistake them from pirates from such a “close distance”.
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