Kerala had no right to detain Italian ship: Centre

The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that the Kerala police had no authority to detain the Italian vessel `Enrica Lexie`.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The Centre, locked in a legal battle over the detention of Italian ship `Enrica Lexie` with the Kerala government, on Friday informed the Supreme Court that the state’s police had no authority to detain the vessel.

According to reports, the Centre, in its response to the apex court, stated that the Kerala Police had no jurisdiction to detain the ship or even probe the incident as it occurred on high seas.

The latest development holds significance as the Italian government today offered to give compensation amounting to Rs one crore to the families of two Indian fishermen who were killed by two Italian marines on February 15.

The apex court had earlier sought responses of the Centre, Kerala government and two others on a petition challenging the seizure of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie by the state authorities.
A bench of Justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale also issued notices to the authorities and two relatives of the deceased fishermen even as senior counsel KK Venugopal submitted that due to the seizure, the vessel had incurred a loss of Rs 200 crore as one lakh tonnes of oil was stored in it.

The apex court passed the order on a special leave petition filed by Dolphin Tankers questioning the Kerala High Court`s order staying the release of the vessel.
While issuing notices, Justice Lodha, however, told the lawyer that the only issue to be decided in the appeal was whether, after the shooting had taken place, the vessel became the property for attachment as provided under CrPC.

It then posted the matter for hearing today.

A division bench of the Kerala High Court had earlier, while setting aside a single judge`s order, stayed till April 02 the release of the vessel detained off Kochi port since February 15.

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