Court rejects plea for joint ballistic test of weapons

A Kollam court on Wednesday rejected a plea by Italy to allow their forensic experts to be present during the examination of the weapons seized from the Italian cargo ship allegedly used in the killing of two Indian fishermen by its Naval guards.

The order by the Judicial First Class Magistrate Aneesh Kumar came even as Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy ruled out the possibility of any out of court settlement in the case which has led to a diplomatic face off between India and Italy.
Chandy made it clear that the case against the two Naval guards will proceed as per Indian law.

The Kollam court while rejecting the petition by the Italian government however allowed its representatives to be present during unsealing of the boxes containing the arms and test firing of the guns by ballistic experts.

The arms were seized from the merchant ship ‘Enrica Lexie’ by the Special Investigating
Team probing the case, headed by Kochi City Police Commissioner M R Ajith Kumar on Saturday in the presence of Italian officials.

“There is no provision in Indian criminal law to have an out of court settlement on charges of murder,” Chandy told mediapersons in Thiruvananthapuram after a cabinet meeting in reply to questions about reports that Italian authorities were trying to go in for out of court settlement.

Stating that the case against the two guards would proceed as per Indian law, he pointed out that the High Court hearing the case had also expressed satisfaction on the investigation. He said there was no merit in the criticism from some quarters that the FIR filed in the case was very weak.

Earlier in the day, the Kollam court disallowed an application filed on behalf of the two naval guards for allowing them during forensic examination, holding it could not entertain such a request.

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