New Delhi: In a controversial move, the Centre today told the Supreme Court that the Kerala Police doesn't have any jurisdiction to probe the murder of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines as the incident happened in international waters. Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval said that the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie was at 20.5 nautical miles from India's coast, whereas the Indian territory ends at 12 nautical miles.
Angered by the statement, the top court, slamming the Centre, said, "You are saying Kerala Police doesn't have jurisdiction? It is very unfortunate and can't be acceptable. How can you take such a stand? Two Indian citizens have been killed."
The Centre, however, stuck to its stand. The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by the owners of the Italian ship Enrica Lexie, detained following the killing of two fishermen on February 15, for allowing it to continue its voyage.
The Supreme Court also indicted it will release the ship subject to conditions and posted the case to 30 April because wife of one of the victims didn't respond to the court notice.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy too criticised the Centre, saying they followed up the case after consulting it.
When contacted, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said that he was not consulted about this stand by the Centre in the court.
Today's controversial comments by the Centre also coincide with the Italian government offering Rs 1 crore each as settlement to the families of two Indian fishermen.
Italian marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, were arrested on February 20 and sent to judicial custody for shooting dead two Indian fishermen, 25-year-old Ajesh Binki, and 45-year-old Gelastine, on February 15, off Alappuzha. The marines, posted on the Enrica Lexie, had allegedly mistaken the two for pirates.