India has sought immediate appearance of four Italian marines before NIA for questioning in the Kerala fishermen killing case, saying their reluctance to come is only delaying the trial and jeopardising the future of two of their accused colleagues now lodged in New Delhi.
Concerned over the refusal of the four marines to come to depose as witnesses, New Delhi has told Rome to send them immediately.
The four marines, who were summoned by the National Investigation Agency, were onboard Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' and were present at the scene when their colleagues Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen on February 15, 2012.
They conveyed that they were not ready to come to India for deposition as witness following summons from the NIA, which is probing the case, official sources said.
The witnesses, however, said they were ready for appearance through video conferencing, face a team of NIA if it visits Italy or even reply to the investigators if they send them written questions.
However, none of the proposals was acceptable to the NIA investigators as Italy was bound to cooperate with India according to an agreement between Rome and New Delhi.
As of now the home ministry and the NIA are evaluating various options but the over riding view is that the four marines as witnesses must come back to testify in the trial.
The refusal of the Italian witnesses to come to India is bound to delay the trial against the two Italian marines, who have been at the Italian Embassy here since their arrival following a diplomatic dust-up.