New Delhi: India Tuesday made it clear that the Rs.1 crore compensation offered to the families of two fishermen killed by Italian marines on board a merchant vessel had no link with their detention and that the case against them would continue, until the judiciary decided otherwise.
Asked if the compensation offer from the Italian had any judicial sanctity, external affairs mimistry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the hearing in a petition questioning the Indian jurisdiction to detain the two Italian marines for killing of two Indian fishermen in the Arabian Sea off the Kerala coast would come up before the Supreme Court May 8. “I would like to reiterate that the case on the detention would continue and until the judiciary decides otherwise this will remain our view,” Akbaruddin said, adding, “As far as any settlement (offered by the Italians) is concerned, it is not between the Indian state and a foreign state.”
Italian authorities Tuesday handed over two demand drafts of Rs.1 crore each to the Lok Adalat in Kerala as compensation to the families of two Indian fishermen — Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45 — shot dead by the marines on Feb 15 off Alappuzha, following out of court settlements.
But the marines — Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone — will continue to stand trial on criminal charges. The two marines were guarding merchant vessel Enrica Lexie and shot at the fishermen, who were on a fishing vessel, reportedly assuming them to be pirates. “As far as we are concerned, there is a case that has been filed in the Supreme Court in terms of jurisdiction of Indian law over the detention of the two Italian marines in India. This case comes up for hearing on May 8,” Akbaruddin pointed out.
He added that the Indian government, including the ministry of external affairs, will present its views to the apex court. “As long as that case is to be decided and disposed of, our view remains what it has always been..that it is our understanding that our jurisdiction extends to the detention of those marines here,” he said, adding, “We are a democracy with a rule of law and we will abide by whatever is the outcome of the Supreme Court on that.”