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Fishermen's killing: SC allows second marine to stay in Italy

September 28, 2016 17:44 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Massimiliano Latorre, the second Italian marine accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012, to remain in his country till the international arbitral tribunal decided the jurisdictional issue.

The Apex court said all the conditions, which were imposed on the other marine, Salvatore Girone, would be applicable on Latorre as well.

A bench headed by Justice A R Dave added another condition on the union government to submit to the apex court a report every three months about the progress of case at the international arbitral tribunal, which would take a decision on which country had the right to try the case.

The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy, passed the order after the Centre placed before it a written affidavit, saying it had no objection to Latorre's plea, provided the same conditions were imposed on him as was done in the case of the other marine.

During the brief hearing, senior advocate K N Balagopal, appearing for Kerala government, raised some objections on the plea.

Senior advocate Rana Mukherjee, appearing for the victims' family, said it was unlikely that the matter would conclude before the tribunal by 2018 or 2020 and claimed that the game plan was to drag the case.

The court's direction came on a fresh plea by Italy seeking modification of bail conditions of Latorre to enable him remain in that country till the jurisdictional issue is decided by the international tribunal.

The apex court on September 8 had decided to hear Italy's plea on behalf of Latorre who had sought urgent hearing on the ground that an earlier court order was valid till September 30 this year.

While relaxing Girone's bail conditions on May 26, the apex court had allowed him to go to his country till the jurisdictional issue was decided.

The Apex court had imposed four conditions on Girone, including that he has to report to a police station in Italy on first Wednesday of each month and the Italian authorities have to inform the Indian Embassy in Rome about it.

The second condition was that he will not tamper with any evidence, nor influence any witness in the case.

The third condition was that Girone will give an undertaking that he will remain under the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and lastly, if found violating any of these conditions, his bail will be cancelled, the court had said.

The marines, who were aboard the Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker 'Enrica Lexie', are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. The complaint against the marines was lodged by Freddy, the owner of fishing boat St Antony in which the two Kerala fishermen were killed when the marines opened fire on them allegedly under the misconception that they were pirates.

Photograph: PTI Photo

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