New Delhi | The speed and direction of wind may decide the fate of the suspect Iranian vessel and its 12-member crew intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard off the Kerala coast in June. Anti-terror agency NIA has sought information from the National Institute of Oceanography about the speed of the wind and its direction to ascertain if the fishing trawler had inadvertently drifted deep into the Indian waters after failure of one of its engines, or entered the country’s maritime boundary deliberately.
Sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA), said they have written to the NIO seeking the details and a response is awaited. Iranian trawlwer ‘Barooqi’ was intercepted by the Coast Guard 93 kilometres deep inside the Indian waters. Iranian authorities have been already requested for details of the 12-member crew who have been arrested. All of them are Iranian nationals, with one being of Pakistani origin.
The NIA is also awaiting a response from the Interpol after ‘Blue Corner’ notices were issued against all the 12 accused in the case. This notice is from one country to the another for collecting additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime. The Coast Guard had intercepted the vessel from the Exclusive Economic Zone of India off the Kerala Coast and NIA was handed over the case on August 4 but it could not interrogate the 12 members of the crew who are in jail.
NIA had to carry forward the probe on the findings of Kerala Police, which had the custody of the accused for 14 days. NIA re-registered a case under various sections of Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act and Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002. The trawler had all the material used in deep sea tuna fishing. One of its engines had broken down but there was no explanation as to why it had strayed so deep into the Indian waters.