Shooting row: Italian minister heads to India (Round up)February 21st, 2012 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS
Kochi/New Delhi/Rome, Feb 21 (IANS) A day after two Italian Marines were sent to police custody for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala cost, Italy has rushed its deputy foreign minister for talks to ease the escalating diplomatic row even as New Delhi made it clear that it will go by its legal process.
A Kerala court Tuesday allowed investigators to look for the murder weapon on the Italian cargo vessel from where the two Marines fired and the Kerala High Court admitted three pleas over the incident. One of the pleas by a victim’s kin seeks Rs.1 crore (around $200,000) compensation.
The Marines plan to move the Kerala High Court Wednesday to quash the first information report (FIR) charging them with the murder of two Indian fishermen at sea. Dolphin Tankers, the owners of the Italian cargo vessel, also filed a petition in the high court that no fresh arrests should be made without hearing their version.
Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura is expected to meet senior Indian diplomats and call on External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday in New Delhi. The visit will be followed by that of Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi Feb 28, official sources said.
Mistura will “continue on a political level the action so far carried out by a delegation of experts from the Italian foreign, defence and justice ministries”, the foreign ministry said in Rome. “Minister Terzi will visit personally next Tuesday.”
Terzi spoke Monday by telephone to Krishna and insisted that the Italian ship was in international waters at the time the Marines opened fire, killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast. Its location is a matter of dispute between the two countries. Subsequently, an Italian delegation of officials from that country’s legal and foreign ministries visited India in a bid to resolve the legal tangle.
India contests Italy’s version and says any incident involving an Indian or an Indian vessel is subject to Indian law. “We have made it very clear to them (Italy) that as representatives of India, we will go by our legal process. Of course, there are differences of opinions,” a government source said in New Delhi, a day ahead of Mistura’s visit here.
New Delhi has also stressed that the incident is at the stage of investigation, and Italy is free to present any issue of judicial nature through its legal counsel in the court, said the sources.
India has also conveyed to Italy that the arrested Marines could get consular access.
Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, were mistaken for pirates and shot dead by the Marines from the Italian cargo vessel Feb 15, off Alappuzha in Kerala.
Reports indicated that the Italian consulate may file a petition Wednesday in the Kerala High Court pointing out that since the incident took place in international waters, the case could not be tried in any court other than an international court of law.
Italian Marines Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone were picked up from the vessel Sunday and arrested. A court near Kollam Monday sent them to 14 days in custody, with the police given the first three days to interrogate them.
The Kollam chief judicial magistrate earlier gave Kollam police, who have taken over the investigation, a search warrant to trace the weapon on the ship.
Kochi Police Commissioner M.R. Ajith Kumar, who initially oversaw the probe, said that “till Feb 23, the investigation team will be free to take the two Italian security officials to places where they want to take forward the probe”.
“The weapon used for shooting the fishermen has been kept under lock in the ship. A search warrant would help investigators go to the ship with the two accused and take possession of the weapon,” said Kumar.
The family of Gelastine filed a petition in the high court seeking a compensation of Rs.1 crore. The plea said the ship should not be allowed to leave Indian waters till the relief was paid.
Various fishermen’s organisation held a protest march near the Kollam collectorate and also in the state capital demanding that strong action should be taken against the Italians who shot dead the two fishermen. C. Peter, who led the agitation in the state capital, told IANS that they have raised the demand that the captain of the vessel should also be arrested.
A third petition on the incident was filed by A. Basil, demanding that adequate compensation should be given to the family of the two fishermen. It would be heard Wednesday along with the other two petitions.
- Italian minister to meet fisherman family in Kollam - Mar 03, 2012
- Shooting row: Italian foreign minister in India Tuesday - Feb 26, 2012
- Fishermen row: Italian minister heads to India - Feb 21, 2012
- Italians' police custody extended, Rome sticks to version (Roundup) - Feb 23, 2012
- Italians' police custody extended, Rome offers cooperation (Intro Roundup) - Feb 23, 2012
- Fishermen's killing: India-Italy differences unresolved; court toughens stance (Night Lead) - Feb 28, 2012
- India, Italy fail to resolve differences over fishermen's killing (Fourth Lead) - Feb 28, 2012
- Fishermen's killing: India, Italy fail to resolve differences (Third Lead) - Feb 28, 2012
- Italian shooting: Legal battle begins - Feb 26, 2012
- Lok Adalat asked to settle compensation for killed fishermen - Apr 20, 2012
- Happy Italians are being treated well: Mistura - Feb 23, 2012
- Now, Italian priests visit home of slain Kerala fisherman - Apr 05, 2012
- Italian marines case: Kerala Police file chargesheet - May 18, 2012
- Fishermen killing: Italy summons Indian envoy in Rome - Mar 07, 2012
- Shooting row: India, Italy fail to resolve differences (Lead) - Feb 28, 2012
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