New Delhi wants the captain of Italian ship Enrica Lexia and two marksmen who shot dead two Indian fishermen to surrender to Kerala Police on Sunday after several rounds of diplomatic confabulations on Saturday culminated in a telephonic conversation between External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna and his Italian counterpart.
Rome wanted the three to be permitted to go in return for a joint investigation into the incident. But in the conversation late in the evening, Mr. Krishna turned down the offer an hour after Kerala Chief Minister Ooomen Chandy sought the Central assistance to persuade the captain and the two security personnel to give themselves up. Mr. Chandy said his government was left with no option but to arrest the Italians after receiving advice on the issue from the State's Attorney- General, said government sources here.
Mr. Krishna and the Indian Ambassador in Rome told the Italians that this was not a diplomatic row that could end with discussions. The question was that those responsible for killing two Indians must submit to the law of the land.
The call from the Italian Foreign Minister capped a hectic day of activity in Rome, where the Indian Ambassador was offered options such as the despatch of a multi-Ministerial team to Kochi and a high-level investigation of the incident.