Kerala High Court on Thursday allowed the plea of two Italian marines Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone , accused of killing Indian fishermen, to leave India to celebrate Christmas along with their family and friends in Italy .

The request of marines was granted by judge P Bhavadasan on condition that they should return to India by January 10 before 3 p.m and should submit their passport to Indian authorities before the deadline. Moreover they have to provide a bank guarantee of Rs.six crore.

The marines can return to Italy now after completing official procedures for fulfilling the conditions prescribed by the court. It is unlikely that Kerala government would file an appeal against the decision of the high court.

The two marines had asked for relaxation of the bail condition that they should not leave the jurisdiction of the office of Kochi city commissioner of police. The marines who had been imprisoned for allegedly shooting to death India two Indian fishermen had been granted bail in June this year. The shooting took place in Indian waters off Alappuzha coast Kerala on February 15. Indian security agencies arrested the marines on February 19.

The advocates who appeared on behalf of Italian marines informed the court that Italyâ??s foreign minister has entrusted Italian ambassador to India Giacomo Sarfelice to file an affidavit before the court assuring that the marines would return to India to face the trial. The Italian foreign minister who visited the marines on December 16 had said that Italy respected the Supreme Court of India.

It is actually a decision of the union government that paved the way for the relaxation of bail norms. While considering the plea of marines, Kerala government had opposed the assurance of marines that they would return after two weeks on the ground that in case they failed to keep the promise it would be impossible to force them return. Subsequently the court asked the union government if it accepted the assurance of the Italian ambassador.

The union government informed the court that the court can take a suitable decision based on the assurance of Ambassador and they would not oppose it. Italian ambassador to India who was present at the court expressed happiness on the decision of the court. He wished all Keralites a happy Christmas.

2012 Living Media India Limited