In response to the demand by the Yellow Gate police for an interpreter to interrogate the pirates, the Somalian embassy asked the police to hand over the 43 pirates to Somalia for trial.
On February 11, the magistrate court had directed the police to ask the Somali embassy for an official translator after they were unable to find any from the Mumbai University.
“After the magistrate courts directive, we wrote to the Somali embassy to provide us with a translator to help with the investigations. However on Thursday, we received a letter from the embassy asking us to hand over the pirates to the Somali government so that they could be tried there,” said Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (port zone).
According to Khalid, in their letter, the embassy stated that they did not have sufficient funds to send a translator. “The embassy officials said that they were speaking to some students to be translators for us however, it would be more convenient to hand over the pirates instead,” said Khalid.
The Mumbai police said that they would be replying to the letter soon saying that as per Indian law it would not be feasible to take the Navy, Coast Guard and police officials to Somalia.
They also said they were unsure that the Somali embassy would be true to their word.
“We do not trust the Somali government to conduct a fair and impartial trial,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the police have recorded the statements of a few hostages in front of the magistrate. “As the hostages would be leaving for Thailand soon, we have recorded their statements in front of the magistrate which would help us in presenting our case in the court. The Thailand embassy has also given to us in writing that the hostages would be brought to the city as and when they would be needed for deposition in the court,” said Khalid.
In two operations undertaken on January 29 and February 6, the Navy and Coast Guard apprehended a total of 43 pirates off the coast of Lakshwadeep. The pirates who were trying to hijack a merchant vessel were later handed over to the Yellowgate police for further investigation.