The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed one of the Italian marines facing murder charges can remain in his home country for a further three months, delaying the start of a trial that caused a diplomatic rift between New Delhi and the European Union.
The court granted permission for Massimiliano Latorre to remain in Italy until July 15, so that he can continue his recovery from a heart surgery he underwent in January. He left for Italy ahead of the surgery last September.
Plans for the European Union to host a summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who left for his maiden trip to the continent as Indian leader on Thursday, collapsed last month amid acrimony over the start of the trial.
Newspaper reports said New Delhi took exception to the role played by European Union Foreign Affairs High Representative Federica Mogherini in the case, which has made headlines in her home country, Italy.
Latorre and Salvatore Girone, part of a military team protecting a privately owned cargo ship, say they mistook Indian fishermen for pirates. Girone is in detention in India awaiting trial.
In April 2012, Rome paid Rs 1 crore to each of the victims' families as compensation. In return, the families dropped their cases against the marines, but the state's case has yet to come to trial.