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Ians

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday closed all criminal proceedings pending in India against two Italian marines, accused of killing of two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012, after payment of Rs 10 crore compensation by Italy.

A bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and M.R. Shah said considering the international tribunal order, India has agreed to the compensation of Rs 10 crore and Republic of Italy has deposited it, which has been transferred to the top court's registry. "We are satisfied with the compensation and the ex-gratia paid over and above earlier. This is a fit case to close all proceedings in India under Article 142 of the Constitution," said the bench.

The bench noted as per the tribunal order, Italy will resume the criminal proceedings against the marines. The top court ordered transfer of Rs 10 crore to Kerala High Court registry out of which Rs 4 crore each should be paid to the two victims' families and Rs 2 crore to the boat owner. The bench added the High Court should appoint a judge to ensure the compensation is paid to the victims' legal heirs.

Citing the tribunal order, the top court noted that Italy can begin criminal proceedings against the two marines, and case details along with evidence will be provided by the Centre and the Kerala government to it.

In February 2012, India had accused two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, on board the MV Enrica Lexie -- an Italian flagged oil tanker -- of killing two Indian fishermen who were on a fishing vessel in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The top court in August last year had told the Centre that it would not pass any on closure of cases against the two marines without hearing the victims' families.

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