Kerala HC stays release of Italian vessel till Monday

Fishermen were killed when marines allegedly fired at their fishing boat off Kollam coast on Feb 15.

Written by Agencies | Kochi | Published: March 30, 2012 6:57 pm

The Kerala High Court today stayed till April 2 the release of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie,detained off Kochi port since February 15 in connection with the gunning down of two Indian fishermen allegedly by marines aboard the vessel.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V Chidambaresh on a writ appeal filed by relatives of the two deceased fishermen — Valentine Jelestine and Ajesh Binki.

Justice P S Gopinathan had yesterday ordered the release of the vessel on furnishing a bond of Rs 3 crore on a petition by the ship’s owners Dolphin Tankers,besides asking them to give an undertaking that they would appear before investigating authorities as and when required.

The bench today orally observed,”We are not happy with this condition” and said it wanted to examine all records and deferred the case to Monday. The Central and state governments also agreed to this.

The bench asked both the governments why they were not filing appeals.

When the court asked what would happen if the bond conditions were violated,Advocate General K P Dandapani said,”We will not be able to get them.”

The bench wanted to know why the state should be put to difficulties to prosecute the Italians.

The fishermen were killed when the marines allegedly fired at their fishing boat off Kollam coast on February 15.

Marines Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Gironi have been arrested and charged with murder and lodged in the Central Prison in Thiruvananthapuram under judicial remand.

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