New Delhi: With Italy reportedly agreeing to pay compensation of Rs 8 crore to the families of two fishermen who were shot dead by Italian marines in Arabian Sea, the nearly nine-year-old case which hit the headlines globally is likely to end soon.
In an affidavit the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has informed the Supreme Court that an agreement has been reached on paying Rs 10 crore as compensation as part of the compromise in connection with the Enrica Lexie case in which two fishermen shot dead by Italian marines who were part of the security contingent on the vessel.
The Indian ministry has confirmed that an agreement had been reached with the families of the victims. They were on the boat named St Antony when they were fired upon from the ship Enrica Lexie on 15 February 2012 off the coast of Kerala.
The ministry sources said that the central government was keen on reaching an amicable settlement after ensuring a reasonable compensation.
The victims, a Keralite and a Tamil, were mistaken for pirates by the security detail on board the Italian-flagged oil tanker Enrica Lexie.
The agreement was reached after Italy decided to pay a compensation of Rs 4 crore each to the families of the two deceased fisherman Derek William Valentine alias Justin, 50, and Ajesh Binki, 21. The owner of the boat could be given Rs 2 crore.
Valentine belonged to Kollam in Kerala and Binki hailed from Kalyikavila in Kanyakumari district of neighbouring Tamil Nadu state.
Settlement based on tribunal order
The Supreme Court had considered the case last on July 8, 2020 based on the verdict of the international tribunal on May 21. Chief Justice S A Bobde had made it clear that Italy should pay adequate compensation to the families of the victims. The international tribunal had asked Italy and India to finalise the compensation through mutual discussions within a year.
Earlier, the Supreme Court registry had rejected the application of eight fishermen who were on St Antony's Boat involved in the incident, mother of fishworker Priji who was a minor at the time of the incident and victim Ajesh Binki's relative to become a party in the case.
There is no provision for appeal against the Tribunal's order.
In case of any dispute over the compensation amount, the affected parties can approach the tribunal within a year. Or else the case would be closed by May 21, the tribunal had made it clear.
The tribunal also said that it was up to the Italian courts to decide what needs to be done with the two marines who had shot dead the fishermen suspecting them to be sea pirates. Though the accused Italian marines Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone were arrested by the Kerala Police soon after the firing incident, they returned to Italy native place after securing bail.