Italian minister coming for Lexie talks

Italian minister coming for Lexie talks

Italy’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Staffan De Mistura is expected to visit India on Wednesday, even as New Delhi maintained that Indian law would take its own course in connection with the arrest of two Italian Navy personnel for killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala last week.

New Delhi on Tuesday negated Rome’s contention that Indian laws would not apply on Italian Navy personnel as the alleged incident took place at a time when the vessel they were deployed in was sailing in international waters.

Mistura will “continue on a political level the action so far carried out by a delegation of experts from the foreign, defence and justice ministries,” the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in Rome.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’Agata is also likely to come to India next Tuesday on a pre-scheduled visit.

Italian Navy personnel Lotorre Massimilano and Salvatore Girone were arrested by Kerala Police on Sunday for allegedly opening fire at an Indian fishing vessel off the coast of Kerala from onboard MV Enrica Lexie, which was on its way from Singapore to Egypt.

Law of the land

The Indian government has maintained that any incident involving an Indian or an Indian vessel was subject to law of the land in India.

“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 here.

Official sources also stressed that the incident was still at the stage of investigation, and Italy was free to present any issue of judicial nature through its legal counsel in the court.

India had already offered Italy consular access to Massimilano and Girone, whom a local court at Kollam in Kerala on remanded to judicial custody for 14 days on Monday.

Sources also said that New Delhi was sure that the fishermen had not been carrying any weapons, when they had been fired upon, and there was no reason for the Italian Navy personnel on board the vessel to mistake them as pirates.

Mutually acceptable

Terzi had last Saturday called up Krishna to seek a “mutually acceptable procedure to establish the facts beyond any doubt and determine responsibilities” for the death of the two fishermen, Ajesh Binki, 25, and Jalastein, 45, who were killed by bullets fired by the Italian Navy personnel on board Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala last Wednesday.
New Delhi had rejected Rome’s call for “mutually acceptable procedure” with Krishna telling Terzi that the law of the land should be allowed to take its own course.

Rome authorities to move Kerala HC

The Italian authorities are planning to move the Kerala High Court demanding quashing of an FIR against two security personnel of accused of firing and killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15.

The petition is likely to be filed before Kerala High Court by a senior Supreme Court advocate for Italian authorities in a day or two.

According to sources, the petitioners will reiterate their stand that the incident happened outside Indian waters and therefore the FIR would not stand.

Italian authorities are also of the opinion that there are contradictions in the FIR and the report submitted to court by Indian security agencies.

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