After spending almost four months in jail, Italian marines Lattorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, who have been charged with shooting down two Indian fishermen, were granted conditional bail on Wednesday by the Kerala high court.
The order comes a day after the court turned down Italy's plea to quash the FIR against the marines, holding that they were liable to be prosecuted under Indian laws.
Two Indian fishermen -- Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45 -- were allegedly mistaken as pirates and shot dead off Alappuzha in Kerala by the marines, who were serving as the security crew aboard Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie.
Granting them bail, Justice N K Balakrishnan said the marines would have to surrender their passports, and also furnish a bond of Rs. 1 crore each besides two Indian sureties. After their release they will have to stay not more than 10 km from the Kochi police commissioner's office, where they would have to report daily.
Like them, their Indian sureties also should not leave the state. Police and seaport officials have been directed to exercise enough caution to prevent the accused from leaving the country.
On earlier occasions the state government had opposed the marines' bail plea vehemently. On Wednesday, the opposition accused the government of favouring the marines. However, home minister T Radhakrishnan said, "We have taken a strong and consistent position throughout. We want them to face murder charges here. There is no dilution or deviation in this." "We opposed their bail plea that is why the court imposed strict conditions," he added.
After being released on bail, the two are likely to move into a hotel.