Kollam/Kochi: A court in Kollam on Thursday extended till March 5 the police custody of the two Italian security men arrested for shooting dead two Indian fishermen, even as the Kerala High Court came down heavily on a plea for quashing of the first information report in the case.

The extended custody came on a police plea that more time was needed to complete the investigation.

Italian Marines Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, detailed as security men on a cargo vessel, were initially sent by a court for 14 days' custody on Feb 20 and police were given three days to interrogate them.

After the custody period expired, police sought more time and the court gave them another week, which expired Thursday.

Two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, were allegedly mistaken as pirates and shot dead by the two Marines from aboard cargo vessel Enrica Lexie Feb 15, off Alappuzha in Kerala.

Earlier in the day, the Italian consulate general's petition in the high court seeking quashing of the FIR lodged against the Marines suffered a setback when the single-judge bench of Justice P.S.Gopinathan asked it not to take things for granted.

Pointing out errors in the petition, the judge said it had no seal of the Italian embassy nor did it carry any authorisation.

Another lacunae in the petition pointed out was about the signatures of the two Marines because doubts were raised on how they could sign the papers when in police custody.

When the Italian consulate general's counsel asked the court to go into the merit of the case, the judge asked them to come back Friday with proper documents.

The Italian counsel also filed an affidavit stating that the two Marines were posted by the Italian defence authorities and a case has been registered in Italy against them, which could hand them out a 25-year life imprisonment.

The case will now come up again Friday.

(Agencies)