Italian marines to be tried
under Indian law: Antony

TRIVANDRUM - Federal Defence Minister A.K Antony asserted on Sunday that India will not succumb to pressures being mounted by Italy to save two of their marines, who shot dead two Indian fishermen, from prosecution in the country.

By T K Devasia

Published: Tue 28 Feb 2012, 12:16 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:14 PM

Talking to reporters here, Antony said that the accused Italian marines will be prosecuted under the Indian law. He pointed out that the judiciary in the country was independent.

“The act of shooting down of two innocent fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15 was unfortunate and equally condemnable. The case will be dealt with under the Indian law,” he added.

Antony said that the investigation in the case was progressing on the right direction and the Kerala government was handling it very strongly and powerfully. He offered full support of the federal government to the state’s initiative.

Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, two Italian naval officers arrested in connection with the incident have been charged with murder under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). A special investigation team led by Cochin commissioner, MR Ajith Kumar is probing the case.

The Italian naval officers on board the Italian merchant ship ‘Enrica Lexie’ had shot dead Valentine Jalastine and Ajeesh Binki on their return from fishing in the deep sea, mistaking them to be pirates. The Kerala police seized four boxes of materials, including two Italian made light machine guns suspected to have been used by the marines to kill the fishermen from the Italian vessel, after nearly 14 hours of search that ended 2am on Sunday.

The materials kept at the Cochin Harbour police station will be sent to Forensic Laboratory at Trivandrum on Monday. The Cochin city police commissioner said that the Italian officials had fully cooperated with the search operations.

The search was conducted in the presence of a 10-member Italian delegation, including Consul General Giampaolo Cuttillo and two ballistic experts Major Flebus Luca and Major Fratini Paolo. Representatives of Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Italian Consul General defence attache were also were present during the search.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’ Agata is arriving here on a two-day visit Tuesday to push a resolution of the crisis that threatens to cast a shadow on bilateral ties.

The Italian foreign minister’s visit to India was scheduled much before the February 15 incident in which two Italian marines on board an Italian ship shot dead two Indian fishermen, mistaking them for pirates, but the shooting row has lent the visit an added significance.

In fact, this would be the first high level visit from Italy since the new government was formed there in November last year.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will hold talks with his Italian counterpart and discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, the external affairs ministry said here Sunday while formally announcing the much-speculated visit.

With inputs from IANS

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