Arms seized from Italian vessel

A Special Investigation Team on Saturday seized several weapons from the Italian merchant vessel Encrica Lexie during a search to trace the firearms used by two marines, who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen.

Investigation officials with their equipment wait to board the Italian cargo vessel, Enrica Lexie, anchored at the Cochin Oil Terminal at Kochi port on Saturday. AP“We have seized many wea­pons and we will zero in the right weapons after the ballisti­cs examination,” police sources told reporters, as the search progressed in the presence of a 10-member Italian delegation, including two ballistics experts who were flown in from Rome on Saturday morning.

Italian Consul General, Giampaolo Cuttillo was also present during the search along with his country’s ballistics experts Major Flebus Luca and Major Fratini Paolo.

The SIT of Kerala police began the search around noon with forensic and finger print experts also on board the vessel berthed here.

The two arrested marines – Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone have been charged with murder in connection with the killing of the Indian fishermen on February 15.
Kochi Police commissioner, M R Ajith Kumar, heading the SIT, Kollam Police commissioner, Debesh Kumar Behera, along with a team of police officers were on board the tanker.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said government would make all efforts to ensure that families of the two Indian fishermen get the maximum compensation.

The probe was in the right direction, he said adding the Central government was extending all cooperation to the state.
Since the state government had taken a strong stand, the Italian government was cooperating with the probe, he told a meet–the–press programme of the Ernakulam press club.

The incident had occurred in Indian waters and the Italian marines should be subjected to Indian laws, he said.

The Kerala High Court had on Friday ordered the arrest and detention of the vessel crew at Kochi port oil terminal till Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the BJP in Kerala on Saturday alleged the state government was not taking up the investigation into the death of the two Indian fishermen seriously. BJP state president V Muraleedharan said the arrest of two marines on board the Italian ship Enrica Lexie was only a “drama”.

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