Marines row: Kerala Home Minister denies Italy's charge

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Italian Marines
Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 24: Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has denied Italy's charge that the state police lured the marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone into Indian waters after they shot dead two fishermen around 4.30 p.m on Feb 15, 2012.

Averring that the shooting incident took place in India's territorial sea, Radhakrishnan slammed the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister's claim that the marines were actually in international waters when they fired upon a fishing trawler 'Saint Antony'.

Ajesh Binki and Gelastine alias Valentine, the two victims, were on board the trawler at that time. Both of them succumbed to bullet injuries. The marines were therefore arrested and booked for murder.

However, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura said in a TV interview that the captain of Enrica Lexie only came back to Cochin because he was deceived by the Kerala Police. Mistura quoted a senior police official as saying "We lured him in".

Refuting Mistura's allegation, Radhakrishnan asserted that the Kerala Police had the authority to take action against the marines since Enrica Lexie was well within the country's jurisdiction on the evening of Feb 15, 2012.

"According to us, this comes under Indian territory. The incident occurred within the territory of India. It is a contiguous area. The contiguous area can also be tried by the Indian law," Radhakrishnan stressed.

It is worth noting that Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday, urging him to allow the District Sessions Court in Kollam to try the marines.

The chief minister pointed out that that the Sessions Court has all the case documents and the testimonies recorded till date are in Malayalam. The trial will be delayed if an effort is made to translate these into English, Chandy said.

BJP leader Balbir Punj also demanded that the marines be tried by Indian courts. "Italians can say whatever they want. Facts don't change. Italians killed two Indians in Indian waters. They should be tried in India under Indian law," he said on Sunday.

OneIndia News 

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