Police custody of Italian naval officers extended

TRIVANDRUM — The police custody of two Italian naval officers arrested in connection with the killing of two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15 has been extended by seven days.

Quilon First Class Judicial Magistrates’ court accepted an application filed in this regard by the Kerala police, saying that they needed more time to gather more evidence, including recovery of the weapons used by the two Italian marines to kill the fishermen.

The court also allowed the plea of Italian government to question the marines before the Italian officials.

The two marines, Latore Massmiliano and Salvatore Girone, were brought from Cochin and presented before the magistrate following expiry of the three-day police custody granted by the Karunagapally additional chief judicial magistrate on Monday.

The two will be taken back to Cochin, where the ship involved in the incident has anchored, police said. They were housed at the guest house of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) during their police custody.

Meanwhile, the Kerala high court has admitted a petition filed by Italian Consul General Giampaolo Cutillio, seeking to quash the criminal case registered against the two Italian naval personnel in the state and issued notices to the state and federal governments.

The court has asked both the governments to file their affidavit before Tuesday. The court will be taking up the petition for further hearing on Tuesday. While admitting the petition, the court asked the petitioner couldn’t they cooperate with the investigation in India?

In a related development, the family of Ajesh Pinki, one of the two fishermen killed in the shooting has moved the high court seeking a compensation of Rs.20 million. The court has already asked the owners of the Italian vessel to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs.2.5 million (over $50,000) on a petition filed by the widow of the other victim.

Dora, wife of Gelastin, also filed an application to be included as a party in the case. She earlier prayed not to leave the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie before the compensation claim filed by her is settled.

In the meantime, Kerala Director General of Police Jacob Punnose said that the police will inspect the ship and seize the weapon and other material evidence required to support the case. He told reporters that the Italian authorities had refused to hand over the weapon saying that it belonged to the Italian Navy. —news@khaleejtimes.com

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