Italian ship captain told to hand over murder accused
Kerala police today handed over a letter to the Italian cargo ship captain asking him to hand over the six people who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen on Wednesday off Kerala coast.india Updated: Feb 17, 2012 18:48 IST
Kerala police on Friday handed over a letter to the Italian cargo ship captain asking him to hand over the six people who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen on Wednesday off Kerala coast.
"We want to question them for more details. The ship and its remaining crew will not be allowed to leave until they furnish all formalities," said state additional director general of police P Chandrasekharan. When asked whether they would be arrested he did not rule out the possibility saying that they would treat it like any other murder case.
The ship was escorted to Kochi port by Navy and Cost Guard vessels on Friday morning. Coast Guard inspector general SPS Basra has also contested the claim of Italian crew that the ship acted in self-defence and never violated the international maritime protocol.
"There was a significant delay of about two-and-a-half hours in reporting the incident to the nearest piracy-reporting centre in Mumbai. It seems they fired at the unarmed fishermen without giving much signals or warnings," he said in Kochi. He said the boat was on an Indian exclusive zone when the incident took place.
The 58,000 tonne ship carrying crude oil and cargo was on its way to Singapore from Egypt when the incident took place. The killing of unarmed fishermen has turned a full-blown diplomatic row after the external affairs ministry summoned the Italian Ambassador to register a strong protest. The Italian crew include 19 Indians.
According to sources in the police Italain authorities continue to insist that crew cannot be booked under Indian laws. Italian consular general has arrived from Mumbai to assist the crew. The Italian Embassy has also sought the service of some prominent lawyers in case the accused are arrested.