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SIT to search Italian ship for weapons today

india Updated: Feb 25, 2012 01:58 IST

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Kerala Police are likely to search on Saturday the Italian ship Enrica Lexie for the weapons allegedly used by the two naval guards in the killing of two Indian fishermen even as the high court ordered arrest of the vessel till Monday.

"We expect by Saturday we will be able to search the ship in the presence of the two ballistic experts from Italy," Kochi Police Commissioner M R Ajith Kumar, heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT), told reporters in Kochi.

The Italian government has requested presence of its technical experts during the search, seizure and examination, he said.

Meanwhile, the high court directed arrest of Enrica Lexie on a petition by Doramma, wife of Jelestine, one of the two fishermen killed in the February 15 incident, which has sparked a diplomatic standoff between India and Italy.

A division bench comprising justices V Ramkumar and K Harilal said the ship should be restrained at Cochin port itself as it accepted the plea of Doramma, who had challenged a single judge's decision, permitting the release of the ship after submitting Rs 25 lakh as deposit.

She submitted that the security amount was meagre and inadequate and if the court finds the petitioners are entitled to more compensation, they may not be able to realise the award amount. The bench will take up the appeal on Monday.

Asked if the two arrested marines -- Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone -- will also be taken to the ship during the search, Kumar said such details could not be revealed.

Italian Consul General in India Giampaolo Cutillo said two technical officers is expected to arrive here tomorrow from Italy to be present during examination and seizure of weapons.