Italian Marines to appear in Delhi court Wednesday

New Delhi, Jan 7: The two Italian Marines facing trial for murder of two Indian fishermen have been asked to appear before a court here Wednesday.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma last month issued notice against Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone and asked them to appear before him Jan 8.

The court order came on a plea filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which requested the court to take steps for it to get custody of the two accused according to directions of the Supreme Court.

Latorre and Girone were arrested for the killing of two Indian fisherman off the coast of Kerala in February 2012. They are currently on bail pending trial and are living and working at the Italian embassy in New Delhi.

The Supreme Court, on Jan 18, 2013, had said that till such time as the special court is set up, the Marines will be under the custody of the apex court.

The Marines, posted onboard oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie on security duty, had opened fire at a fishing boat, suspecting that it carried pirates. Two fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, were killed in the firing.

Italian officials say the Marines merely fired warning shots into the sea in the direction of the fishermen’s boat.

Italy disputes India’s jurisdiction over the case, claming the incident took place in international waters.

The case sparked a major diplomatic row between the two countries when Rome refused to return Latorre and Girone to New Delhi after they were allowed home to vote in national elections by the Supreme Court last year. The two later returned to India within the stipulated time limit.

According to sources, a charge sheet in the case is likely to be filed this month.

IANS