Ind-Italy in diplomatic maze; marines to face local law

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Italian marines
New Delhi, Feb 21: With the shooting of the Indian fishermen by Italian marines sparking a diplomatic row between both countries, both the parties want to deal with the issue on their own terms. While Italy stressed that it wants to deal with the case, the Indian side maintained that the marines should be charged under local rules.

The marines who are arrested include Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, who were alleged to be on board the Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie when the infamous shoot out happened. With the Italian officials stating that the jailed sailors should be dealt with under the laws of Italy, New Delhi stated in clear terms that the law should be allowed to take its course and the matter is in Indian courts.

Firming its stand, the talks headed by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna maintained that the law of the land should be at play on the matter. Meanwhile, New Delhi has also rejected Rome’s demand for a joint probe. [Read: Italy, India at odds over fishermen shootings]

The accused sailors have been remanded to custody by a Kerala court. An Italian diplomatic team comprising of officials from its foreign affairs, defence and justice ministries have arrived in Delhi to initiate talks on the matter. Meanwhile, Kochi City Police Commissioner M.R. Ajith Kumar added that the investigation into the shooting was shifted to the Kollam police and he stated, "Till Feb 23, the investigation team will be free to take the two Italian security officials to places where they want to take forward the probe. Today they will be moving the Kollam court to get a search warrant which will help them search the ship."

He added, "The weapon used for shooting the fishermen has been kept under lock and key by the ship officials in the ship itself. A search warrant would help investigators go to the ship with the two accused and also take possession of the weapon."

A statement made by the Italian foreign ministry said that their aim was to 'examine various aspects of the case and to collaborate with the goal of establishing the truth beyond the shadow of a doubt'.

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