New Delhi: NIA is likely to question four Italian marines, who were witness to the killing of two fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012, through video conferencing after their refusal to come to India for deposition and Home Ministry`s reluctance to send any team to Rome to quiz them.
Notwithstanding India`s consistent request to send the witnesses, Italy has made it clear that the four will not go to India to appear before investigators in connection with the case in which two Italian marines are accused.
After Italy`s refusal, the Home Ministry has sought the opinion of the Attorney General to suggest the way forward.
With the top law officer advising the government against sending a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team to Italy, the Ministry is left with the only option of questioning the four witnesses through video conferencing after getting a Letters Rogatory from a court.
Official sources said the witnesses may be called to the Indian Embassy in Rome from where the four will appear before the investigators for questioning through video conferencing in presence of a magistrate.
Indian investigators in the past have questioned foreign witnesses through video conferencing. A witness was questioned by CBI through video conferencing in the 1995 urea scam from Indian High Commission in London.
India has already conveyed to Italy that delay in questioning the witnesses is only jeopardising the future of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. Both the accused are now lodged in the Italian Embassy here.