I fear for my life in Goa, says Scarlett’s mother (Second Lead)

February 19th, 2009 - 12:03 am ICT by IANS  

Panaji/New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Fiona Mackeown, mother of slain British teenager Scarlett Keeling, has alleged that the narcotics lobby in Goa would try to kill her if she visited the coastal state again.
Fiona, while speaking to a local cable channel from her home in Britain Wednesday evening, said that her daughter’s death had resulted in a sudden loss of tourism trade in the narcotics driven coastal belt, which had “enraged the drug mafia” in the state.

“I fear for my life because of threats from the Goa drug mafia,” Fiona said.

Responding to queries about a criminal neglect complaint filed against her by a local activist lawyer, Fiona said the Goa police too would arrest her the moment she landed.

“The lawyer, Aires Rodrigues, who has filed a case is good friends with sub-inspector Nerlon Albuquerque, who sabotaged my daughter’s case in the beginning,” she said.

Fiona had earlier alleged that state Home Minister Ravi Naik, his son Roy and the police department were linked to the narcotics lobby, which was “trying to cover up” her daughter’s murder. Ravi Naik refuted the allegations, calling them baseless.

Wednesday marks the death anniversary of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling, whose body was found at Anjuna beach. The police had earlier tried to dismiss the case as a suicide, but Fiona’s campaign for justice attracted international spotlight and exposed Goa tourism’s ugly underbelly.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said they could send a team to Britain this month to quiz Fiona MacKeown.

Asked about the progress of investigations in the case, CBI spokesperson Harsh Behl refused to comment in New Delhi.

However, a senior official of the agency told IANS that “a CBI team may visit her mother in Britain this month.”

“We have got Scarlett’s e-mail which she had sent to a friend three days before her death, revealing to him that some people had tried to rape her. We are investigating the case and cannot reveal any other thing right now or the probe will be hampered,” the CBI official, wishing anonymity, told IANS.

The case was handed over to the CBI last year after Fiona accused Goa police officials of mishandling the investigations.

Police sub-inspector Nerlon Albuquerque, who was initially investigating the case, was dismissed from service for sabotaging the probe.

The public outcry following the revelations which led to Albuquerque’s dismissal, coupled with the suspension of forensic expert Silvano Sapeco for fudging Scarlett’s post-mortem examination, was instrumental in the case being transferred to the CBI.

The two suspects, Placido Carvalho and Samson D’Souza, were the only people arrested by the police on charges of rape and murder but were subsequently bailed out by the trial court, citing absence of any evidence against them.

A lawyer, Aires Rodrigues, has filed a petition in the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court, arguing that it was Fiona’s neglect that led to her daughter’s death.

Fiona was in Gokarna in Karnataka at the time of the incident and she had left Scarlett in the care of Julio, of whom the family knew very little.

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