The Kerala High court today granted bail to the two Italian marines accused of shooting and killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala
Granting bail, Justice NK Balakrishnan said the two accused should execute a bond for Rs one crore each besides
two Indian sureties each for an equivalent amount.
After release from jail, they shall stay in a building within a distance of 10 km from the office of the Kochi city Police Commissioner, appear before the Commissioner on all days between 10am and 11am and as and when required.
The marines should also furnish their mobile numbers if any, the court said, adding, they should not leave the territorial limits of the Commissioner’s office. The two sureties should also not leave the state. The magistrate shall ensure the identity of the sureties by insisting on production of photo identity card, the Court said.
The marines were also asked to surrender their passport before the Kollam Magistrate Court.
Justice Balakrishnan made it clear that the accused should be released on bail on production of valid travel
document, visa having been endorsed by a foreign registration officer.
In their bail plea, the marines — Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone- had contended that they had not committed any offence as alleged by police and that there was no justification in continuing their custody.
Earlier,their bail plea was rejected by a lower court in Kollam. The police has already filed a chargesheet against the two marines and has charged them under sections of the Indian penal code and International Maritime law.
The naval guards were arrested on 19 February and charged with murder of fishermen Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki, who put out to sea from Neendakara in Kollam.
The marines, who were lodged in a prison in Thiruvananthapuram since 5 March, have been shifted to Kochi.
The Kerala high court had earlier dismissed a plea by the Italian government seeking to quash the FIR filed against the two Italian marines.
The Italian government has also awarded compensation to the families of the two fishermen who were killed in the incident.
Reacting to today’s court order, the Kerala government said it was strongly opposed to the bail since it was not sure whether the two marines would be available for their trial in the state.
“We were strongly opposing the bail because may be the marines would not be available for trial in India,” Kerala Home Minister T Radhakrishnan said adding that there was no question of an out-of-court settlement in the case.