A special court in Ramanathapuram today ordered the release of five Sri Lankan fishermen who were arrested off Tuticorin coast by the Indian Coastguard on March 17.
A consultative committee meeting of the Tuticorin District collector, Superintendent of Police, Indian Coastguard officials and Intelligence officials, came to the conclusion that the fishermen from Kalpatti fishing harbour had drifted into the Indian coast by accident due to sea current and wind, officials said.
Authorities concerned also ordered their release as it was accidental straying into Indian waters, officials said. The fishermen were produced before the special court in Ramanathapuram and ordered to be released.
The fishermen had put to sea on March 14 and drifted to the Indian coast on March 17 and were nabbed by the Coast Guard.
Their boat and catch and other materials were seized and they were brought to Tharuvaikulam in the district and handed over to Coastal Marine Police. They were lodged in Srivaikuntam prison.
The released fishermen would be handed over to Lankan navalmen tomorrow or the day after, officials said.