UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman refused Monday to be drawn into the controversy surrounding the two Italian marines facing trial in India over the killing of two fisherman off the Kerala coast amid reports that the Italian prime minister has asserted that a "direct channel" had been opened with New Delhi raising hopes of a settlement.
The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on the petition filed by two Italian marines challenging the jurisdiction of NIA to prosecute and probe the case of killing of two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012.
A Delhi court on Tuesday fixed March 31 for hearing arguments on NIA`s plea to take "appropriate steps" to secure the custody of two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012.
India on Tuesday asserted that law of the land will apply with regard to the two Italian marines, facing trial for alleged killing of two fishermen, notwithstanding the unhappiness among the Italian "friends" over the nature of charges invoked against them.
Two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast, may escape death penalty with the Home Ministry on Tuesday agreeing not to press for the capital punishment against them.
Expressing concern over the delay in the trial of its marines charged with murder, Italy on Wednesday ruled out sending four seamen as witnesses in the case and sought other legal options to take forward the investigation.
Four Italian marines, who were witness to the killing of fishermen off Kerala coast allegedly by two of their colleagues, have refused to come to India for deposing as witness, which will further delay the case.
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 deposed before the National Investigation Agency official probing the case.
The Italian government has reportedly refused to send four of its marines to appear as witnesses for questioning in the ‘Enrica Lexia’ case in which two of its marines are facing trial for killing of Indian fishermen.
Italy on Saturday said it expects "fair and fast" trial of its marines, allegedly involved in the killing of two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast that should be to the satisfaction of both the countries.