Tuticorin: The Principal Sessions Court on Tuesday cancelled the conditional bail granted by a lower court to 35 crew members of a private US ship arrested on charges of carrying weapons illegally and straying into Indian waters.
Principal Sessions Judge Krishnamoorthy was allowing a criminal revision petition by Tamil Nadu Q Branch police challenging the grant of bail by a magistrate court here to the crew of MV Seaman Ohio arrested on October 18 and now in judicial custody.
Earlier, Chief Judicial Magistrate K Venkatasamy had stayed the bail granted by Judicial Magistrate-I C Kathiravan on December 26, holding that it was `flawed` and went against orders of higher courts, including Supreme Court, as the incident posed a challenge to national security.
Magistrate Kathiravan had granted the conditional bail after the crew argued that the Q branch had failed to file the chargesheet even after 60 days of their arrest.
The magistrate`s order came 10 days after the Madras High Court dismissed the bail pleas of the crew, arrested on October 18 after it was intercepted by the Coast Guard about 15 nautical miles east off Tuticorin on a tip-off that the vessel carried arms.
They were booked under the Arms Act and also the Essential Commodities Act for "illegal" purchase of diesel from local agents.
Twenty two foreign nationals among the crew are lodged in the Chennai Puzhal Central prison, while another from UK and 12 Indians are in the Palayamkottai Central Prison in neighbouring Tirunelveli.