Ballistics tests will reveal truth: Italy

Amid reports of the Kerala police’s plan to search the ship - Enrica Lexie -on Saturday for weapons used to shot dead Indian fishermen, Italy on Friday said their ballistics tests would reveal the truth behind the firing by the Italian Navy personnel.

The firing by Italian Navy personnel had resulted in the death of two Indian fishermen  off the coast of Kerala on February 15.   New Delhi, however, continued to maintain that the two arrested Italian marines would be tried in accordance with the law of the land.

“We want the truth – all of us, the Indian people, the Italian people. And the truth will come out very much through the ballistic test,” Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura told journalists after meeting M Ganapathi, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, in New Delhi. The ballistic tests will be conducted on board MV Enrica Lexie on Saturday. Ballistic experts of Italian Police are likely to arrive from Rome on Saturday to be present during the tests. “It will help all of us to be able to discover whether there was good faith mistake done by the Judges who decided or felt that the Italian military were wrong or that there was a good faith mistake by the Italian military,” said the Italian minister, who returned to Delhi from his two-day visit to Kerala on Friday. 

Mistura said: “The fact that they are allowing Italian experts to be present during this crucial issue of ballistic test is a sign of transparency and to make sure that we all feel comfortable with the proceedings and that will help all of us.”  Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’Agata is also likely to come to India next Tuesday on a pre-scheduled visit.  Meanwhile, the Kerala Police are likely to search the Italian ship Enrica Lexie on Saturday even as the High Court ordered arrest of the vessel till Monday. 
“We expect by tomorrow (Saturday) we will be able to search the ship in the presence of the two ballistic experts from Italy,” Kochi Police Commissioner M R Ajith Kumar, heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT), told reporters in Kochi.

The Kerala High Court, meanwhile, directed the arrest of Enrica Lexie on a petition by Doramma, wife of Jelestine, one of the two fishermen killed in the February 15 incident.

A division bench comprising justices V Ramkumar and K Harilal said the ship should be restrained at Cochin port itself as it accepted the plea of Doramma, who had challenged a single judge’s decision, permitting the release of the ship after submitting Rs 25 lakh as deposit. The bench will take up the appeal on Monday.

Asked if the two arrested marines — Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone — will also be taken to the ship during the search, Kumar said such details could not be revealed,  permitting the release of the ship after submitting Rs 25 lakh as deposit. Italian Navy personnel Lotorre Massimilano and Salvatore Girone were arrested by Kerala Police last 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. The Indian Coast Guard had intercepted the vessel after the incident and made it berth off the coast of Kochi for investigation.

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