Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday stayed
till April 2 the release of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie,
detained off Kochi port since February 15 in connection with
the gunning down of two Indian fishermen allegedly by marines
aboard the vessel.
The order was passed by a division bench comprising
Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V
Chidambaresh on a writ appeal filed by relatives of the two
deceased fishermen -- Valentine Jelestine and Ajesh Binki.
Justice PS Gopinathan had yesterday ordered the release
of the vessel on furnishing a bond of Rs 3 crore on a petition
by the ship`s owners Dolphin Tankers, besides asking them to
give an undertaking that they would appear before
investigating authorities as and when required.
The bench today orally observed that "we are not happy
with this condition" and said it wanted to examine all records
and deferred the case to Monday. The Central and state
governments also agreed to this.
The bench asked both the governments why they were not
When the court asked what would happen if the bond
conditions were violated, Advocate General KP Dandapani said,
"We will not be able to get them."
The bench wanted to know why the state should be put to
difficulties to prosecute the Italians.
The fishermen were killed when the marines allegedly
fired at their fishing boat off Kollam coast on February 15.
Marines Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Gironi have
been arrested and charged with murder and lodged in the
Central Prison in Thiruvananthapuram under judicial remand.