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Italian military officers to join probe team to conduct investigation into fishermen killing case

Kochi/New Delhi , Fri, 24 Feb 2012 ANI

Kochi/New Delhi, Feb 24 (ANI): Kerala state police on Friday announced the names of the two Italian military officials who are to join the investigation looking into the deaths of two Indian fishermen, allegedly killed by Italian sailors.


A lower court in Kerala granted permission to include Italian experts in the search, seizure and examination of ballistics obtained from the crime scene after a petition was filed by Italian Consul General Giampaolo Cutillo.


Kochi Police Commissioner M R Ajith Kumar said that the Italian officers are expected to arrive here by tomorrow morning.


"The court has given permission, the court said that the search, seizure and examination shall be conducted in the presence of two identified and notified officers from the Italian side. Based on that court order, the embassy officials here have conveyed the matter to their government, they have nominated two officers, Major Flabus Luca and Major Fratenni Paolo, who are expected to reach here by tomorrow morning," said Kumar.


"So in order to complete the orders of the honourable court and to follow the legal procedures correctly, we will be in a position to go for search operations tomorrow morning," he added.


Cutillo, who was also present at the media conference said the case was of prime importance to the Italian authorities.


"We more than happy and ready to give our maximum cooperation to this case, which is for an absolute priority because we are mainly and absolutely interested in establishing the truth," said Cutillo.


Meanwhile in New Delhi, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura met with his counterparts following a visit to Kerala to update them with his observations.


"We want the truth, all of us, the Indian people, the Italian people and the truth will come out very much through the ballistic tests. That will help all of us to be able to discover whether there was a, in good faith, mistake done by the judges, who decided or felt that the Italian military were wrong or that there was, in good faith, a mistake by the Italian military. In either case the test becomes crucial and the test will give us the truth," said de Mistura.


External Affairs Ministry's spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told journalists after the meeting, that de Mistura had so far been satisfied with the progression of investigations.


"He did express that he was satisfied with the outcome of his visit to Kerala and the way the things were progressing. For us it was an occasion to also indicate to him that we have free, fair and independent judiciary and it is best if the law of the land takes its own course. And it is gratifying that the minister did seem to indicate that the way things were proceeding in Kerala, it was a matter of satisfaction for them," said Akbaruddin.


Two Indian fishermen were killed on last week off the coast of Kerala, when a navy security team onboard the Italian 'Enrica Lexie' ship opened fire on a boat it mistook for pirates.


Italy's Navy said after the shooting that the fishing boat had approached the Napoli-registered vessel in an aggressive manner. (ANI)


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