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Additional Solicitor General's view on Italian ship not of Government of India

Chennai , Sat, 21 Apr 2012 ANI

Chennai, Apr 21 (ANI): Shipping Minister G. K. Vasan on Saturday said there were no differences between the Centre and the Kerala Government on detention of two Italian marines, accused of killing Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in February.

Vasan was responding after Additional Solicitor General Harin Raval made a submission in the Supreme Court that the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie was not within Indian territorial waters when the two marines aboard it had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen.

"There is absolutely no controversy because the central government is very clear, the incident happened in Indian waters and the investigation is going on and both the ministry, whether it is MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) or the Shipping Ministry has not filed an affidavit for this and it must be a personal opinion. It is not at all the opinion of the ministry concerned or the central government," said Vasan.

A local court in Kollam district on April 16 ordered a two-week extension of police custody of the two Italian mariners.

On March 29, the Kerala High Court ordered the release the detained Italian cargo ship Enrica Lexie, after its owner furnished a bond of rupees 30 million.

India has held in detention the two seamen, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, trying them under Indian law since February 19.

The Italian mariners opened fire on a boat, which they mistook for pirate vessel, killing two Indian fishermen on February 15 off the coast of Kerala.

Italy's Navy said after the shooting that the fishing boat had approached the Napoli-registered vessel in an aggressive manner.

The Italian government considered "such measures unacceptable given the status of the servicemen" and asked that the two sailors be transferred to a more "adequate" structure.

Italy insists that India has no jurisdiction over the incident, which occurred in international waters.

The incident has sparked of a diplomatic row between the countries with each of them sticking to its stand. (ANI)

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