Scarlette death under intense media scrutiny

March 13th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Panaji, March 13 (IANS) Droves of journalists have descended on Goa ever since the British media undertook a close investigation of the Scarlette Keeling case, which has seen the police and government doctors being accused of playing down or covering up details about the Feb 18 death of the 15-year-old girl. The police had first passed off the Feb 18 death as a case of drowning. But the intense media scrutiny forced the authorities to order a second autopsy. And now the police have claimed to have “nearly cracked” the case after making two arrests.

On Tuesday, 29-year-old bartender Samson D’Souza was arrested on a charge of raping the victim. Then on Wednesday night, D’Souza’s colleague Placido Carvalho was arrested on a charge of rape and murder, with the police claiming he had supplied a cocktail of drugs to Scarlette and she died of an overdose.

Scarlette’s mother Fiona Mackeown has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying there is “a strong drug mafia on the coast of Anjuna” and she has “no faith in the leadership of the Goa Police”. Scarlette’s body was found on Goa’s famous Anjuna beach.

“My daughter has been murdered and nothing would bring her back to life, but your timely intervention now would ensure that the tourists coming here as well as the people of Goa retain their faith in the state and administration.

“I pray that the government of India, in the interest of justice, takes adequate steps to acknowledge, identify and prosecute the members of this criminal nexus,” Mackeown said in the letter that was made public.

Deaths of foreign tourists in Goa are not new, and residents feel the authorities here have long turned a blind eye to the issue.

Official police statistics show that 61 foreign tourists died in Goa in 2007 and 17 have died till now this year. In the October 2003-February 2004 period, 38 foreign tourists had died in the state.

Of the 2.4 million tourists who come to Goa every year, around 300,000 are from abroad.

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