Italian marines case: Kerala Police file chargesheet

The two Italian security officials - Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Gironewere were arrested on February 20 for shooting dead two Indian fishermen.

Kollam: A special investigation team (SIT) of the Kerala Police on Friday filed a chargesheet against two Italian marines accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen from aboard a ship.

Latorre Massimillano and his colleague Salvatore Girone have been made first and second accused and have been charged under section 302 (Murder) of the Indian Penal Code, besides other sections.

The 196-page chargesheet was submitted to the Kollam chief judicial magistrate`s court. The SIT, led by Kochi Police Commissioner MR Ajith Kumar, investigated the incident.

The marines, posted aboard cargo vessel Enrica Lexie, were arrested Feb 20 for allegedly shooting dead two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, after mistaking them for pirates. The incident occurred Feb 15, off Alappuzha.

The chargesheet was prepared after examining 60 witnesses. Forty-six material objects and 126 documents also formed part of the chargesheet, which mentions that the incident took place at 20.5 nautical miles from the coast.

Currently the accused are in judicial custody till May 25 and lodged at the Central prison in Thiruvananthapuram.

Meanwhile, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura and a high ranking diplomatic official called on the Trivandrum Latin Archbishop M Susaipakiam at the church headquarters in the capital city Friday morning.

After the meeting, the Italian minister told the media that Kerala fishermen needs more attention.

"They need more protection... We have already decided that we will take up the case internationally that foreign vessels plying close to the Kerala coast do not travel close to the fishing boats," said Mistura.

Susaipakiam said this is going to be an issue which they will discuss when the synod of their diocese meets here for five days starting this Sunday.

"Of the 2.5 lakh faithfuls of our church, a good majority of them live near the coast. We will certainly take up the issue of fishermen living in constant fear of foreign vessels coming close to theirs, when they go for fishing in the sea… What has happened was unfortunate and so painful for the families," said the archbishop.

Early this month, Italian authorities reached an out of court settlement by paying Rs 10 million each to the families of the deceased fishermen and Rs 1.7 million to the boat owner J Freddy for damaging his vessel. On May 5, the Italian vessel was allowed to sail out from Kochi.