Toppling all apprehensions about their return, Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Indian fishermen returned to Kochi on Friday after a two-week visit to their homeland.
The duo landed here at 8 am, on a special flight chartered by the Italian government. They were accompanied by six Italian officers, including Giampaolo Cutillo, the Consul General of Italy in Mumbai. Adhering to the bail requirements, upon arrival, the eight-member Italian team went directly to the office of the Commissioner of Police in Kochi.
Later, they surrendered their passports at the District and Sessions Court 1 in Kollam in the afternoon.
The court returned the bank guarantee of `6 crore which the marines had furnished through the Kollam branch of Dhanlaxmi Bank to the court to grant them permission to go to Italy.
The marines will have to be present in the court on January 15 when the case comes up for hearing. Judge P D Rajan granted residential permission to the marines till May 13. The bank guarantee was given back after the government said that it had no objection for the same.
Italian Consul General Giampaolo Cutillo and Colonel Francisco Zathe were with the marines when they arrived in the court at 2.30 pm. Counsels Thomas Anakallungal, C S Nair and A K Manoj appeared for the marines and G Mohanraj appeared for the state. It took almost one-and-a-half hours to complete the proceedings and the marines left for Kochi by 3.45 pm.
The Italian government had paid bail money of `6 crore as a pre-condition imposed by the High Court. The Italian officials, including Fernando Cianni, Giampaolo Cutillo, Allesandro Quatrana, Roberta Ampollini, Zati Francesco and Capodivento Ruggiro are here to claim the security deposit back, said one of the advocates.
The accused were taken to Italy on a 319 Airbus flight specially sent by the Italian government on December 22. The High Court of Kerala had said in its order that the Italian government should take the responsibility of sending them back to Kochi not later than 3 pm on January 10, 2013.
The bail as well as the permission was sanctioned by the High Court on the basis of the assurance given by the Italian government to their counterparts in New Delhi and through their diplomatic officials in India.
The Government of Kerala had expressed its disapproval in allowing the marines to go to Italy, although on a short visit, but on the assurance given by the Central Government, Justice P Bhavadas sanctioned the marines’ bail petition. He had explained in his order that once they return to India, the trial will continue.
The two marines, had been on security duty aboard the Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie, when they shot dead two Indian fishermen, Jelestine and Ajeesh Pink on the Arabian Sea. They were arrested on February 19.