Italy makes conditional offer to cooperate with probe

Italy makes conditional offer to cooperate with probe

 Italy today offered to cooperate with Kerala police for the ballistic examination of the weapons of the two arrested marines, suspected to have shot and killed two Indian fishermen, but said it should be in their presence.

'We will cooperate for the ballistic examination, but we should also be present. Hope it will bring out justice', Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Stefan de Mistura said.
A Kollam court on February 21 had permitted police to search the Italian ship Enrica Lexie to seize the arms allegedly used by the two onboard naval guards to shoot and kill two Indian fishermen.

Talking to reporters after meeting the two Marines at the CISF Guest House at Wellington here this morning, Mistura said the firing incident took place in international waters.

"We stick to our stand that the vessel was in international waters when the incident took place. It was 22.5 nautical miles of Kollam coast', he said.

The visiting Minister said he felt sad for the families of the dead fishermen. "We expressed regret."

The marines have been arrested on the charge of killing the two Indian fishermen on Feb 15 off Kollam coast. Italy has been maintaining that they opened fire suspecting the fishermen's boat to be pirates.

Meanwhile, the two guards were today taken to Kollam for being produced before a court at the end of their three-day police custody.

Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone were taken in separate vehicles by police to Kollam, a nearly three hours journey from here. They have to be produced in court by 4 pm.

On the legal front, the petition filed by Italian Consul General in Mumbai Gian Paolo Cutillo and the two accused seeking to quash the FIR against them will come up before the Kerala High Court today.