Italian marines refuse to talk, probe stuck
Two Italian marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen last year have refused to give any statement to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the case, sources have told HT.delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2013 00:13 IST
Two Italian marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen last year have refused to give any statement to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the case, sources have told HT.
"We called both the accused marines - Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre - to record their statements. But they refused to say anything, apparently under legal instructions," said an official source.
On February 15, 2012, an Indian fishing boat had come under fire from Italian ship Enrica Lexie off the Kerala coast, resulting in the deaths of two fishermen - Ajesh Binki and Jelestine.
"The probe has established that it was a kind of target shooting. One fisherman was shot in the head and the other in the heart," said the source. "We want to know what forced the marines to shoot the two fishermen."
The NIA now wants to speak to the four other marines -Voglino Renato, Andronico Massimo, Fontano Antonio and Conte Alessandro - who were part of the team of naval guards as they are crucial witnesses to the incident.
"But Italy has so far not sent them to India despite an assurance in the Supreme Court to produce them as and when required. We have asked the ministry of external affairs to take up the matter with Italy," said the source.
The NIA is also speaking to the Italian ship's civilian crew in the hope that it will shed some light on the circumstances in which the shooting took place. Around half a dozen of them have already given statements to the NIA.