Kochi: A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed on Tuesday to investigate the killing of two fishermen by two Italian Navy guards on board an Italian ship, Enrica Lexie, off the Kochi coast earlier this month. Kochi Police Commissioner Ajith Kumar will reportedly be heading the team.
Italy has said it will be sending a top envoy to India to negotiate with the government over the incident.
Italy has insisted the case be handled by its own judicial authorities since the incident allegedly occurred in international waters on an Italian-flagged ship, the Enrica Lexie.
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has said that while Italy is maintaining pressure on India, both sides are working to resolve the crisis.
It maintains that such military personnel are part of the Italian state and thus immune to the jurisdiction of foreign states.
Staffan De Mistura, Foreign Ministry undersecretary, will be in India on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, who himself will visit the country on February 29, has instructed De Mistura to continue, at the political level, the work already carried out by the delegation of Italian experts from the Foreign, Defence and Justice Ministries. De Mistura will have contacts at the highest level with the state and federal authorities in, respectively, Kochi and in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, the family of one of the fishermen victims has moved the Kerala High Court seeking compensation of Rs 1 crore. They have also asked for the ship to be detained.
A search warrant was issued by a local court on Tuesday to seize the weapons used in the shooting. Meanwhile the 2 naval personnel have also decided to move the Kerala High Court seeking quashing of the FIR filed against them.
Sources say that a senior SC lawyer is likely to represent the naval guards.
Meanwhile, Terzi, maintaining pressure on India, said that both sides were working to resolve the crisis.
"The Italian government is working at every level with the Indian government. It's a dialogue between myself and the Foreign Minister, it's a dialogue with the other ministers at both Federal and State level. According to interpretation of the law, they were under Italian jurisdiction. For the moment this position is not being accepted by the Indian authorities, but we will pursue all possible initiatives to resolve this problem."
Political intervention aside, Italian diplomats in India are tracking every move of the Kerala police. A crisis unit of the Foreign Ministry is monitoring all developments. Legal opinion from foreign, defence and justice ministries has been sought.