By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 9: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to deposit in its account the Rs 10 crore compensation given by the Italian government for the kin of the fishermen killed by Italian marines off the coast of Kerala in 2012.

The Centre had informed the apex court about the compensation earlier in the day.

While the family members of the two deceased fishermen will be given Rs 4 crore each, the injured owner of the boat will be paid Rs 2 crore in damages, the Centre said, The Indian Express reported.

The Supreme Court will Friday hear the government’s plea to close criminal proceedings pending in India against the two Italian marines accused of killing the two fishermen.

Seeking an urgent hearing of its application, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramaian that the victims’ families have been paid compensation.

Initially, the court said it would hear the matter next week, but the SG sought an earlier date saying “there is some urgency since it is between the Indian and Italian government”.

In July 2020, the government had told the top court that it had decided to accept the International Arbitral Tribunal’s May 21, 2020 ruling in the case and sought disposal of the proceedings pending before the court in view of the tribunal’s ruling.

The tribunal, while stating that India is entitled to compensation for the loss of lives, ruled that the Italian marines could not be tried in India in view of the immunity enjoyed by them.

Kerala Police had instituted a case against the marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were posted on Enrica Lexie, charging them with shooting and killing two Indian fishermen on board their fishing vessel St Antony. The marines had apparently mistaken the fishermen for pirates.

The duo then filed a petition in the Kerala High Court, challenging the state’s jurisdiction to investigate the matter.

The High Court had dismissed their plea, following which they had moved the Supreme Court.

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