In a fresh twist in the probe involving two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs has “deferred” the proposal to send a team of the National Investigation Agency to Italy to question four witnesses in the case. The MHA had sought the opinion of the Attorney General and the Law Ministry on sending the team after the witnesses refused to appear before the agency in New Delhi.
The decision was taken after receiving their opinion, officials said. The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, are currently lodged in the Italian Embassy in New Delhi. MHA officials said to take the probe forward, the NIA has been asked to “deliberate” on two other options ‚Äî to send a questionnaire to Italy or record the statements of witnesses through video conferencing. They also said the option of sending a letter rogatory (LR) is being explored and if the need arises, an NIA team can be sent later when the LR is being executed.
The four witnesses were on board Italian vessel Enrica Lexie at the time of the crime. The NIA claims getting them to India to appear before it is the best way to get evidence.
However, Rome recently conveyed that the four will not appear here for deposition, after which the NIA was asked to explore other options.