Kerala police seize guns, documents from Italian ship
A 14-hour search ends with the seizure of guns and documents. Ballistic examination will establish if any of the guns were used in the firing that killed the two Kerala fishermen.
A Special Investigation Team of the Kerala police has seized four boxes of materials from the Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie to trace the weapons used by the two marines who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen.
The boxes, which contain guns and documents, have been sealed and will be shifted to the Harbour Police Station later on Sunday and produced before the Kollam court on Monday, Kochi commissioner MR Ajith Kumar, who heads the SIT, said after the search, stretching over 14 hours, ended at 2 am on Sunday.
Asked about the details of the seized materials, Ajith Kumar declined to give any details, but said, "we got whatever we needed."
"How long the investigation will take and what all were seized we cannot tell," he said, adding the Italian ship would be allowed to leave Kochi only after the investigations are over. The Italian authorities extended full cooperation during the search operations, he said.
Earlier, Ajith Kumar had said that the weapons used by the six Italian marine security personnel on board would be sent to the Thiruvananthapuram forensic laboratory.
PTI had reported earlier, citing an unidentified police official, that the SIT had during the search operations seized “many weapons” and that a ballistic examination would reveal if any of them were used in the firing incident that killed the fisherman.
The search was conducted in the presence of a 10-member Italian delegation, including Consul General Giampaolo Cuttillo and two ballistic experts Major Flebus Luca and Major Fratini Paolo, who flew in from Rome.
The SIT began the search around noon on Saturday with forensic and fingerprint experts also on board the vessel. The two arrested marines -- Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone - have been charged with murder in connection with the killing of the Indian fishermen on 15 February.
Besides Kumar, Kollam Police commissioner Debesh KumarBehera, and a team of police officers were present on board the tanker during the search.
On Saturday, addressing a meet-the-press programme of the Ernakulam press club, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government would make all efforts to ensure that families of the two Indian fishermen secured the maximum compensation.
The investigation into the killing was proceeding in the right direction, he said, and the Centre was extending all cooperation to the state. And since the state government had taken a strong stand, the Italian government too was cooperating with the investigation, he said.
In his opinion, the incident had occurred in Indian waters and the Italian marines should be subjected to Indian laws, he said.
With inputs from PTI
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India should stop being bullied by Italian diplomats over the trial of the two Italian guards who killed two fisherman off Kerala's coast. They should be brought to justice in India.
The bench said they are not happy with the conditions and it would want to examine all records before releasing the vessel.
The apex court was told that a 100,000 tonne ship has incurred a loss of Rs 200 crore ever since it was detained at the Kochi port and its losses were adding up every day.