The Supreme Court on Friday permitted one of the two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala coast, to return home for medical treatment for four months.
But SC made the relief conditional on the accused and the Italian government giving a clear undertaking on dates of departure and return.
“Undertaking should be plain, simple, unambiguous and unequivocal by the accused and the Republic of Italy. The order comes into operation only after they give such an undertaking,” a bench ofsaid while asking the lawyers for Italian ambassador and the accused marine to withdraw eight paras from their previous undertaking which raised objections of territorial jurisdiction.
SC also took into account the Centre’s stand where it said “in principle” it had no objection to the plea by marine Massimiliano Latorre, who suffered a brain stroke on August 31. It said Centre will facilitate his passage from India to Italy and back.
Latorre and fellow marine Salvatore Girone are accused of killing two Indian fishermen on February 15, 2012. They allegedly fired while on board ship ‘Enrica Lexie” off Kerala coast.
On behalf of the Italian government its ambassador Daniele Mancini furnished an undertaking assuring SC that the ailing marine would abide by all terms and conditions set for his travel to his native country. Taking it on record SC said condition for the relief granted to Latorre would be same as set by the apex court on February 22 2013 when the two marines were allowed to travel to Italy under the control and custody of the Ambassador of Italy in India, to cast their ballot in the elections.
Latorre and the ambassador through senior counsels Soli Sorabji and KTS Tulsi prayed before SC to allow him to return to Italy for his “more rapid and complete recovery”. The victim, Freddy, who is also a complainant in the case, had pleaded before the apex court for constitution of a medical board of AIIMS doctors for medical examination of Latorre. Owner of the fishing boat ‘St Antony’, in which two Indian fishermen were murdered when the marines allegedly fired at them, Freddy had opposed the relief earlier.
SC had last year directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the case against the marines and directed the Centre to set up a special court to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis after transferring the case from a court in Kerala to national capital. The accused Italian marines had moved the apex court challenging the jurisdiction of NIA to prosecute and probe the case.