Marines case: Witnesses refuse to come to Indiahttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/marines-case-witnesses-refuse-to-come-to-india/

Marines case: Witnesses refuse to come to India

The MHA has sought legal opinion from the Ministry of Law and Justice in connection with the alleged killing of two Indian fishermen by two Italian marines off Kerala coast.

The MHA has sought legal opinion from the Ministry of Law and Justice in connection with the alleged killing of two Indian fishermen by two Italian marines off Kerala coast.

This comes after four Italian witnesses in the case refused to come to India and instead asked the government to either record their statements in Italy or make them depose through video conferencing. This,according to investigators,is likely to delay the trial of the two marines.

According to sources,the setback comes as a surprise to Indian investigators since the Italian government had given a sovereign assurance promising full cooperation in the probe.

So far,the NIA has recorded the statements of Master of the Vessel Umberto Vittelli,Chief Officer James Mandley Samson,Second Officer Sahil Gupta,Seaman Fulbaria Marendra Kumar Naren and former ordinary seaman Kantamuich Tirumal Rao.

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According to the NIA,the four were on board Italian vessel Enrica Lexie when their colleagues,Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone,allegedly shot dead two fishermen,Ajesh Binki and Jelestine,on February 15,2012.

Officials said this is bound to delay the trial against the accused,who have been at the Italian Embassy since their arrival following a diplomatic row.