The National Investigation Agency probe into the killing of two Kerala fishermen is likely to be delayed as several key documents are being translated from Malayalam and Italian to English and the agency needs to question all foreign witnesses present on the Italian ship who left India long ago.
Several key documents, including the first information report filed by the Kerala police and log-book of ship 'Enrica Lexie', were either recorded in Malayalam or Italian and all of them needed to be translated into English which is a time-consuming process, a Home ministry official said.
Besides, after the Supreme Court allowed the NIA to investigate the case, it needs to question all foreign witnesses present on the Italian ship that left India long ago. The NIA will have to inform through diplomatic channels the sailors and others present on the ship to join the investigation.
The apex court too had observed that the investigators have to give at least five week to foreign witnesses to join the probe process. "Under such circumstances, it is obvious that the probe will be delayed quite a bit," the official said.
The two Italian marines -- Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone -- were allegedly involved in the killing of the fishermen last year. Italy had reneged on its assurance to the Supreme Court on sending back the two marines who were allowed to go home to cast votes in elections leading to a diplomatic dust up.
But it later gave in after the Indian government and the apex court took a firm stand with New Delhi warning that ties with Rome could be downgraded.