Police file charge sheet against Italian marines

The police, on Friday, filed a charge sheet against two Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court here charging them with murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The 196-page charge-sheet, filed by Neendakara Coastal Police Station Circle Inspector R. Jayaraj on the 89th day of the marines' arrest, shows Lattore as the first accused and Girone as the second accused.

They were arrested by the State police on February 19 from the Italian-flagged ship Enrica Lexie on charges of opening fire at the fishing boat Saint Antony off the Ambalapuzha coast on February 15 allegedly killing two Indian fishermen.

The charge sheet comprises a 15-page description of offence and report, list of 126 documents, list and details of 48 material evidence, including arms and ammunition seized from the ship, and a list of 60 witnesses. The witnesses include the nine fishermen on board the fishing boat who survived the gunfire.

The charge sheet was prepared by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police led by Kochi City Police Commissioner M.R. Ajit Kumar after nearly three months of investigation.

While Italy had disputed the jurisdiction of India over the case on the ground that the incident had taken place in international waters, the chargesheet clearly states that the incident occurred within Indian territorial waters.

This claim has been made by the SIT on the basis of records obtained from the Global Positioning System receiver of the ship and the boat. The charge sheet explains why the captain of the ship cannot be listed as an accused in the case.

Though the captain is the person who is in command of the ship as per International Maritime Organisation (IMO) rules, in the Enrica Lexie case, as per an agreement between the Italian government and the owner of the ship, the Italian marines were totally in command of the security aspects of the ship.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 11:55:54 pm |