The relatives of two fishermen killed by the marines of Italian ship 'Enrica Lexie' on Tuesday filed a petition in Kerala High Court seeking to withdraw affidavits and submissions made by them against the accused.
In their petition Doramma, the widow of the deceased fisherman Jelestine, and sisters of second victim Ajesh Binki said they were not pursuing the case in view of the out-of-court settlement reached between them and the Italian government. Italy has agreed to pay Rs one crore each as compensation to the families of two victims.
However the murder case registered against the two by the state government would continue in Kollam (south Kerala) court - Marines Latorre Massimilano and Salvatore Girone are in judicial custody in Kerala since their arrest on Feb 19. The incident took place on Feb 15 off Kerala coast.
The relatives impleaded in the case when the marines approached the High Court challenging the criminal cases filed against them. Fully backing the State Government's arguments, counsel for the legal heirs agreed that the government has the jurisdiction to register a case against the marines as the shooting took place in Indian waters. At this juncture Advocate General K P Dandapani said that if they withdraw their pleadings it would not affect the case.
The families had last week obtained the permission of the High Court to approach the Lok Adalat for getting a legal approval for the new settlement. The agreement was reached last week in the presence of local priests and chief of staff of Italy's Defence ministry Pasquale Preziosa. Both sides were engaged in several rounds of talks.
Italy had rushed at least three senior ministers to India in two months to sort out the contentious issue, which was threatening to vitiate diplomatic ties between the two countries. Upset with the failure of several rounds of talks Italian authorities finally settled for an out-of-court settlement involving influential local people including local priests.