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    Italian marines may go scot-free

    KOCHI: The Centre’s unexpected U-turn in the Enrica Lexie case before the apex court on Friday could hamper the efforts of the state government in bringing the Italian marines to justice. Going by the Centre’s stand, the marines can even file a case against the state for unlawful detention.“In that case, why did they (the Centre) call back MV Prabhu Daya, which was also involved in a similar incident, and let the state government file an FIR? Going by the arguments put forth by the Centre, the FIR in Prabhu Daya case also becomes illegal. If the Centre’s stand is approved, the Italian marines and the ship owner can even file a case for a wrongful detention. In that case, the state govt may have to give a huge compensation,” said Manoj V Joy of the Sailors Helpline, Chennai.Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy pointed out that the Centre was trying to scuttle the whole issue.Director-General of Prosecution T Asaf Ali too came down heavily on the Additional Solicitor- General for making such a statement."It was a totally unnecessary, unwarranted and uncalled for statement. As per Section 3 of the SUA Act, which deals with Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence against safety of maritime navigation, action can be taken against any person committing offence even if beyond the Indian boundary,’’ he said.Asaf Ali pointed out that both the Centre and the state government have the jurisdiction to take action on an offence committed within Exclusive Economic Zone of India.Meanwhile, one of the advocates appearing before the Kerala High Court in the Enrica case, said the new development could affect the compensation package.“The initial framework for the settlement and final agreement has been made. But going by today’s developments, it could affect the package. The Centre’s stand is not something new. Earlier, before the Kerala High Court also they have said that the vessel should be permitted to go. Now, they have only made it more explicit,” he said.