The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday said that the compensation offered by the US government for the family of the victims of the US naval ship shooting off the waters of United Arab Emirates would not affect ongoing investigations.
On Saturday, officials of Tamil Nadu Government handed over the compensation to the kin of Sekar Arumugam, who was killed in a firing by a US naval ship in UAE waters.
“We understand that this humanitarian ex-gratia payment does not prejudice the final outcome of the ongoing investigation which is under way in the United States,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters.
While noting that the US government has termed the relief as “solatium”, he refused to give details of the compensation amount, directing the question towards the US embassy.
“I think the details of these could be best revealed by the US Embassy as they have worked it out in consultation with the Government of Tamil Nadu,” said Akbaruddin. Replying to queries from Express, the US embassy’s acting spokesman Lee McManis said that the financial assistance had been given “on humanitarian grounds”, and added that it would “not prejudice the final outcome of the ongoing investigation.’’ But, he officially refused to disclose the amount. “The amount and details concerning the assistance offered is a private matter for the families to discuss, if they wish,” said McManis.
According to sources, the amount offered to the victims was equal to that of the Tamil Nadu government - `5 lakh for the family of the dead fishermen and ` 50,000 for the three injured. Regarding investigations, he said that it would be conducted in a “thorough and independent manner”. “We’ll of course keep our counterparts in the Government of India apprised of the results of our investigation,” said the embassy spokesperson.