Charge sheet against Italian marines in shootout case

The charge sheet, filed just a day before the three month time limit, said the ship was sailing 20.5 nautical miles off the Indian coast when the marines fired at the fishermen from Kerala who were aboard the boat St Antony

Kollam (Kerala): Three months after they allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast, police on Friday filed a charge sheet against two Italian marines in a court here charging them with murder under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and also invoking the International Maritime Law, reports PTI.

The marines, Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone on board the Italian ship 'Enrica Lexie' when the incident occurred on 15th February, are listed as the first and second accused respectively in the 196-page charge sheet, including annexures, filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The naval guards, lodged in the Central prison at Thiruvanathapuram for nearly three months, are also facing charges under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder), 427 (causing damage or loss) and 34 (acting in common intention).

Article 3 of the Suppression of Unlawful Act of International Martime Navigation has also been invoked in connection with the incident which had led to a diplomatic row between India and Italy.

The charge sheet, drawn up after three months of investigation, said the ship was sailing 20.5 nautical miles off the Indian coast when the marines fired at the fishermen from Kerala who were aboard the boat St Antony.

The charge sheet listed vital exhibits like Voyage Data Recorder (DR), six Beretta guns, two mini-light machine guns, 1690 bullets and the deck-log of the ship, both in Italian and English and GPS, seized from the vessel.

The charge sheet cited 60 witnesses including the crew members of the vessel and the fellow fishermen who were on board the boat which was fired at by the marines.

The victims, Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki, who took to sea along with nine other fishermen from Neendakara near here, was shot dead on 15th February. 

The Italian marines were arrested on 19th February and lodged in jail. The charge sheet was filed just a day before the three month time limit for doing so.

The vessel, which was detained for more than two months off Cochin port, was allowed to sail a few days ago on getting clearance from the Supreme Court.

The marines had moved a bail application in the district court here, which would come up for consideration tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura expressed hope that there would a speedy trial.

Mistura, who met the marines in the prison yesterday, called on Archbishop M Soosai Pacckyam in Thiruvananthapuram this morning.

He told reporters that Italy also shared the safety concerns of Indian fishermen and would take steps to ensure that ships from his country would not stray into territorial waters, where traditional fishermen mostly engage themselves.

The Archbishop said he also asked the Italian officials to take the initiative for strengthening international laws concerning the safety of fishermen so that unfortunate incidents like this could be avoided.

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TRAI asks telcos not to show misleading ads of tariff plans

Telecom operators cannot increase tariffs of subscriber plans for six months from the enrolment date but they are free to reduce call rates at the same time

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked operators not to present misleading advertisements of their tariff plans, while directing them to show recurring charges to consumers under single head, reports PTI.

"No tariff plan should be offered, presented, marketed or advertised in a manner that is likely to mislead the subscribers," Trai said in its Consumers' Handbook on Telecommunications.
 
All monthly fixed recurring charges, which are compulsory for a subscriber, should be shown under one head, it added.

"The service providers also have to publish all the tariff plans in prescribed formats in at least one regional language and one English newspaper at an interval not more than six months," TRAI said in the handbook.

Besides, telecom operators can't increase tariffs of subscriber plans for six months from the enrolment date but they are free to reduce call rates at the same time, the sectoral regulator said.

"A tariff plan once offered by an access provider shall be available to a subscriber for a minimum period of six months from the date of enrolment of the subscriber to that tariff plan," Trai said.

However, for any tariff plan, the operator is free to reduce tariffs at any time but "no tariff item in a tariff plan can be increased by the service provider," it added.

The move gives the subscribers the freedom to change plans during the six month period and the operator is mandated to accept the request and implement it.

"The subscriber shall be free to choose any other tariff plan, even during the said six months period. All requests for change of plan shall be accepted and implemented immediately or from the next billing cycle," TRAI added.

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Vegetable prices push retail inflation to double digit

In April, vegetable prices recorded the maximum spurt in prices, up 24.55%, followed by edible oils - 17.63% and milk products - 14.94%

New Delhi: Retail inflation shot up to the double digit mark at 10.32% in April on account of substantial increase in vegetable, edible oils and milk prices, reports PTI.

Based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the inflation for March was revised to 9.38% from the provisional estimate of 9.47%, as per the government data release on Friday.

Vegetable prices recorded the maximum spurt in prices, up 24.55%, followed by edible oils - 17.63% and milk products - 14.94% in April, year-on-year basis. Prices of egg, fish and meat shot up 9.95%, while non-alcoholic beverages became costlier 9.52%.

Among other items, prices of cereal and its products saw a rise of 3.94% over the April 2011 level. While sugar saw a marginal rise of 4.32% in April, 'pulses and products' were up by 6.03%, over the same month last year.

Prices of fuel and light, and clothing, bedding and footwear segments also remained in the double-digit.

Inflation rates for rural and urban areas were 9.86% and 11.10% respectively in April.

According to the revised data, the inflation rates for rural and urban areas were 8.70% and 10.30% respectively in March.

The All-India CPI is in addition to the three retail price indices -- for agricultural labourers, rural labourers and industrial workers -- prepared by the Ministry of Labour.

Meanwhile, inflation based on Wholesale Price Index also rose to 7.32% in April on account of steep spurt in vegetables as they turned costlier by 60.9% during April as per the WPI data released earlier this week.

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