Kochi: Italy told the Kerala High Court on Thursday that the state police had no jurisdiction to investigate its two naval marines charged with killing of two Indian fishermen but it made a conditional offer to cooperate in the probe into ballistic examination of the weapons used.
A Kollam court, meanwhile, extended the police custody of the two marines till March 1. The naval guards have been in police custody since their arrest on Sunday.
The Italian stand amid the diplomatic row with India was articulated by visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Stefan de Mistura here and its counsel before the Kerala High Court which asked why that country was not cooperating. The Court admitted a petition filed by the Italian Government seeking to quash the FIR against the two marines.
With India not relenting on Italy's demand that the case be taken out of a Kerala court, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said any decision on how to pursue the case against the two accused should be left to the Centre and
Mistura spoke of the conditional cooperation after meeting the two Marines Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone at the CISF Guest House at Wellington here.
"We will cooperate for the ballistic examination, but we should also be present. Hope it will bring out justice" Mistura told reporters.
The Kollam court on February 21 had permitted police to search the Italian ship Enrica Lexie to seize the arms allegedly used by the two onboard naval guards to shoot and kill the two Indian fishermen last Wednesday.
"We stick to our stand that the vessel was in international waters when the incident took place. It was 22.5 nautical miles of Kollam coast," Mistura said.
The petition filed before the High Court by Italian Consul General in Mumbai Gian Paolo Cutillo and the two accused also sought a stay on all further proceedings in the case.
They submitted that Kerala Police have no authority to conduct investigation in the case and courts in India have no jurisdiction as the incident occurred beyond the Indian territorial waters.