TN court quashes bail to US vessel crew

 In a setback to the 35 crew members of an United States vessel detained on the charges of illegally carrying weapons, a local court in Tuticorin cancelled the bail granted to them recently.

Principal District and Sessions Judge J Krishnamoorthy, who heard the Tamil Nadu “Q” Branch police’s criminal revision  petition, ordered cancellation of the conditional bail granted to all the 35 crew members of the detained vessel. The police argued that a bail could hamper their probe into the case.

On December 26, the crew members were granted bail by Judicial Magistrate-1 (JM-1) C Kathiravan after their petition claimed that the police had failed to file a charge sheet even after 60 days of their detention.

Chief Judicial Magistrate K Venkatasamy, however, described the conditional bail granted by the JM-1 as “flawed” and   granted interim stay on it. Though the crew members got bail earlier, they were not released from the prison.

Twenty two foreign nationals among the crew are lodged in the Chennai Puzhal Central prison, while another from the United Kingdom and 12 Indians are in the Palayalamkottai Central Prison in Tirunelveli district.

The ship was detained by Indian Coast Guard after it allegedly strayed into Indian waters on October 12, 2013 and the case was handed over to Tamil Nadu “Q” branch police for investigation.

The police booked the 35 crew members under the Arms act and essential commodities act. The arrested include British, Estonian, Ukranian and Indian nationals.

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