Kochi: The second top official of Italian merchant ship Enrica Lexie, from which two marines shot and killed two Indian fishermen on February 15 last year on Friday deposed before the National Investigation Agency official probing the case.
Complying with summons issued by NIA, Novillio Carollo, Second Master of the ship, appeared before the agency`s Investigating officer Vikraman here and gave a statement, Enrica Lexie`s counsel VJ Mathew said.
With this, all the six ship crew -- Master of the vessel, Umberto Vittelli, Chief Officer James Mandley Samson, Second Officer Sahil Gupta, Seman Fulbaria Marendra Kumar Naren and former ordinary seaman Kantamuich Tirumal Rao, who were summoned to appear before NIA as witnesses, have completed their deposition.
Two Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre were arrested on February 19 last year four days after they shot and killed fishermen Ajesh Binki and Jelestine off Kerala coast on February 15 from the vessel. Both are facing murder charges.
Mathew said four other Italian marines onboard the ship had also been summoned by NIA as witnesses and they were yet to appear.
The trial in the case has been delayed as all the witnesses had not yet appeared before the NIA, which is probing the case on the orders of Supreme Court.
Carollo later told reporters that the marines do not require permission from the ship`s Master to open fire. "They do not require any permission. They work themselves. We follow only safety onboard. Not security. We cannot interfere with the security."
He said he told the NIA that warning shots had been fired before the shooting.
They (marines) fired after giving warning shots, setting off alarm bells and search lights as they suspected it to be a piracy attack.
Mathew said the statement given by Carollo to NIA was similar to the one to police after the incident.
"Marines are totally under the control of Italian military. They need not take permission from the master. Not only for this issue, but for throughout the voyage," Mathew said.
Referring to the recent reported remarks of the Master of the vessel that the marines had violated norms and had not taken his permission before opening fire, he claimed it was "absolutely false". Master`s permission is not required for ordering firing.