Merry Christmas to Italian marines from HC

By PTI| Published: 20th December 2012 04:03 PM

Kerala High Court today permitted the two Italian marines, facing criminal trial here for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen, to leave for Italy for two weeks for Christmas, but laid down stringent conditions.

Disposing the petition by Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone,Justice P Bhavadasan said the bail conditions can be modified if the Union government feels the undertaking by the Italian Ambassador and Italian Consul General are acceptable and travel documents can be issued to them.

The court asked the marines, arrested from Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' on February 19 for allegedly shooting down two Indian fishermen off Alapuzha coast on Feb 15, to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs six crore.

It said they can leave India and remain in Italy for two weeks from the date of their departure and should return to India before 3 PM on Jan 10, 2013.

Their passports can be released on production of necessary travel documents for exit and re-entry and on filing of an unconditional undertaking that they would return to India and surrender their passports at 3 pm on Jan 10, it said.

The two authorities who have filed affidavits should file unconditional undertakings to keep surveillance of the marines during travel and while in Italy and on return to India and re-surrender and also assure they are produced in court on or before the date specified.

The authority concerned, who are to keep surveillance should furnish details of their addresses and mobile numbers and their movements in Italy to the Kochi police commissioner.

As per the conditions, the marines should not leave Italy, except for returning to India. On their return, they should be bound by the same conditions as stipulated in the May 20 2012 bail order, the court said.

Kerala Government had on Dec 18 opposed the plea by the marines to facilitate their visit to Italy, saying it was a method to 'smuggle them out' and would "torpedo" the trial in the killing of two fishermen off the state's coast in February.

The two authorities, who have given affidavits should file unconditional undertakings to keep surveillance of the marines during travel and while in Italy and on return to India and re-surrender and also assure they are produced in court on or before the date specified, the court directed.

They were also directed to furnish details of their addresses and mobile numbers and their movements in Italy to the Kochi police commissioner.

The marines should not leave Italy, except for returning to India, the court directed. On their return, they should be bound by the same conditions as stipulated in the May 20 2012 bail order, the court said.

Kerala Government had on Dec 18 opposed the plea by the marines to facilitate their visit to Italy, saying it was a ruse to "smuggle them out" and would "torpedo" the ongoing trial.

Ever since the arrests, Italy has kept up diplomatic pressure on India seeking their early release, contending that the shootings took place in international waters.

The marines claimed that they had fired at the fishing boat mistaking it for a pirate craft.

While disputing this, New Delhi has made it clear that it cannot meddle with the judicial process and it was for the courts to decide the issue.

More from this section

Antony upset over feud in Kerala Congress
Achuthanandan gets shocker, three aides ousted from CPI-M
Kerala legislators can use laptops, iPads in assembly
Kerala HC allows trial against Tharoor
Not joining UDF Cabinet: Kerala Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala