New Delhi, August 19: Considering a plea by 10 fishermen seeking compensation, the Supreme Court Thursday directed the Kerala High Court not to disburse any amount from Rs 2 crore earmarked for the owner of the fishing boat 'St Antony' in which two fishermen were killed by Italian marines in 2012.
A bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and V Ramasubramanin said the 10 fishermen were present on the boat on the ill-fated day. It added that they too were eligible for the compensation amount, earmarked by the apex court for the boat owner.
On June 15, the top court had closed the 9-year-old criminal proceedings against the two Italian marines, Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing the two fishermen after Italy had paid Rs 10 core compensation to the heirs of the deceased and the boat owner.
The court directed that Rs 4 crore each would be given to the dependents of the two deceased fishermen and the remaining Rs 2 crore will be given to the vessel owner.
The top court had referred the matter to the Kerala High Court to oversee the disbursement of the amount.
In a fresh plea, the 10 fishermen said they were also injured in the incident. So, they too were entitled for compensation.
The fishermen have sought a stay on the disbursement of the compensation amount till their claims are determined.
In February 2012, India had accused the two marines on board the M V Enrica Lexie, an Italian-flagged oil tanker, of killing two Indian fishermen who were on a fishing vessel in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Latorre who had suffered a brain stroke on August 31, 2014, was granted bail and allowed to return to Italy for four months on September 12, 2014. Ever since, the apex court had granted him several extensions.
In Italy, Latorre underwent a heart surgery after which the top court granted him an extension of his stay in his native country.
The complaint against the marines was lodged by Freddy in whose vessel the two fishermen were killed.
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