Italy rushes diplomat to India, HC to be moved to quash FIR

Italy rushes diplomat to India, HC to be moved to quash FIR

Italy today rushed a top diplomat to India amid a deepening row over the arrest of two Italian Naval guards who also plan to move the Kerala High Court tomorrow to quash the FIR charging them with the killing of two Indian fishermen at sea.

Junior foreign minister Staffan De 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 Italian foreign ministry said in a statement in Rome while announcing the visit.

The statement also said that Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi will visit India "personally" next Tuesday.

The petition by the two marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone was likely to be filed in the high court tomorrow, a counsel representing them told PTI in Kochi.

It had not yet been decided on whose behalf -- government or any  other party -- the petition would be filed, the counsel, who did not want to be named, said.

The contention of the accused who have been slapped with a murder charge would be that Kerala police have no authority to conduct investigation in the case and courts in India have no jurisdiction as the incident occurred beyond the Indian territorial waters, the counsel said.

The interrogation of the two accused, who were remanded in three-day police custody yesterday, by a court in Kollam district continued today. The Naval crew has claimed that the fishermen were killed on suspicion of being pirates.

Dora Valentine, wife of Valentine alias Jelstine (45), one of the two fishermen killed in firing from the Italian merchant ship on February 15 off Kollam coast in Kerala, and her two children V Derick and V Jeen meanwhile moved a petition in the high court seeking Rs one crore compensation.

She said the vessel Enrica Lexie should be impounded and not allowed to leave without paying security.

Dora submitted to the court that she did not have Rs 8,18,400 to pay as court fees.

Justice Harun U L Rasheed, before whom the petition came up, posted it for tomorrow.

In another petition, the Captain and owner of Enrica Lexie filed a caveat before the high court seeking to hear them before passing any order with regard to compensation to the families of the two fishermen killed.

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