Weapon search on ship delayed

Despite the order from the Kollam chief judicial magistrate, the police could not go on board the Italian ship on Wednesday to seize the weapons used by its navy personnel last week to kill the fishermen off Kollam shore.

The Port Trust had decided not to let the Italian ship Enrica Lexie to shift its position from the outer sea to the oil berth, where it was earlier anchored.

However, the Kollam CJM issued another order on Wednesday in favour of the police plea and directing the Port Trust to let the ship in.

But, there was another hurdle. For, the police may not conduct the search and seizure on Thursday too, as the investigation officer Sam Christy Daniel has to present the two Italians before the Kollam CJM at 4 pm.

According to the police, the ship needs at least three hours to come from the outer sea to the oil berth, and the search and seizure process will take a minimum of four hours.

“To reach Kollam CJM at 4 pm, the team has to start from Kochi at least by 12 noon. So, it is almost impossible to conduct the search on Thursday,” said a top cop.

Meanwhile, the Italian diplomats have put up four requests before the director general of police in connection with the search warrant.

They demand that the seized weapons be kept at a defence establishment and the examination be conducted by a joint team.

The diplomats also sought permission to seal the weapons jointly after the examination and to let the vessel leave Kochi as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Italian deputy foreign minister Steffan de Mistura arrived in Kochi late on Wednesday night. Later, he met the chief minister and the DGP at the Nattakom guest house in Kottayam.

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