Magistrate of the Kollam Judicial First Class Magistrate Court-2 P.V. Anishkumar on Tuesday issued a warrant to search the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie and seize the gun used by the marines on security duty on the ship to open fire on the fishing vessel St. Antony on February 15 that resulted in the death of two fishermen.

Mr. Anishkumar issued the orders on the basis of a plea from a police team investigating the case.

Since two Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, have been arrested by the State police on murder charges under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, the gun from which they opened fire is important material evidence.

Mr. Anishkumar said the warrant was issued because the seizure of the gun was vital for strengthening the case.

While entering the ship on Sunday to arrest the two marines, the police had made attempts to seize the gun. Sensing this, the ship authorities transferred it into a room and sealed it. They were informed by Captain of the ship Umberto Vitelli that the gun would be handed over only to Italian authorities or an investigating agency from an international community dealing with economic zone violations.

Now, with the search warrant, the police will board the ship on Wednesday and inform the captain that they have the authority to search and seize the gun. In case of objection from the captain, the police will seize the gun using the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a police officer in the investigating team told The Hindu.

Plea for compensation

Special Correspondent writes from Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday posted for February 22 the hearing on a petition, filed by the family of one of the fishermen shot dead, seeking a compensation of Rs.1 crore from the ship owner, captain, and the two security guards.

The petition for maritime claim was filed by Doramma, wife of Valantine, her sons, Derrick (17) and V. Jeen (10).

When the petition came up for hearing before Justice Harul-Ul-Rasheed, counsel for the petitioners pressed for an interim order of arrest or detention against the ship in view of the possibility of the ship being let off. However, counsel for the shipping company contended that the investigation was on and the ship had been detained.

The petition sought compensation from the boat owner as well. The petitioners also filed a petition seeking to waive the stamp duty after declaring them as pauper as they did not have sufficient means to deposit the amount required under Section 22 of the Kerala Court Fee and Suit Valuation Act.

Meanwhile, the shipping agency of the vessel filed a caveat seeking to hear the version of the ship owners and the master before issuing any interim order of arrest or detention against the ship.

Plea for SIT

A public interest writ petition was filed on Tuesday before the Kerala High Court seeking to constitute a special investigation team to probe the gunning down of the two fishermen.The petitioner also sought a directive to the Centre and the State government to take strong action against the offenders. The petition was filed by Basil Atipetti.

Meanwhile, a magistrate court here dismissed a petition seeking to register a case and conduct an investigation into the alleged conspiracy to let the accused in the killing of the fishermen off the hook. The court dismissed the case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of the court to interfere in the case.

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