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UPA govt "unduly generous" to Italian marines: R K Singh

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Former Union Home Secretary tonight rejected the allegation that he was responsible for complicating the case relating to two Italian marines, accused of killing Indian fishermen off coast, and charged the government was "unduly generous" to the marines".

He said the charges under the tough anti-piracy SUA had been invoked against them by Police and NIA.

Singh, who has since joined BJP, hit back at External Affiars Minister Salman Khurshid, questioning his legal understanding and claimed the government was "unduly generous" to the marines.

"We are run by rule of You can't say this (Act) won't be applicable on this person or in this case... NIA decided to use SUA. Now, it is for the competent to see if the charge holds. Why should government act like defence lawyers"? Singh said.

He said the decision to transfer the probe from Police to NIA was taken at a meeting attended by the Attorney General, senior officials from the Home and Foreign Ministries.

"It is for the investigating agency to decide which sections of are to be used. First Kerala Police and then NIA decided that the case was fit for invoking SUA. The accused were marines under Italian jurisdiction, for us they were killers of two innocent fishermen," he said.

Under SUA, the maximum punishment is death.

First Published: Mon, February 24 2014. 22:13 IST