Paji, Sept 23: Two beach shack workers, accused of raping and killing 15-year-old UK teeger Scarlett Keeling on a Goa beach in 2008, were acquitted by a trial court here on Friday. The victim’s mother and her counsel claimed that incompetent investigation influenced by the drug mafia and an inordite delay could have led to the acquittal. Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho were acquitted by Goa Children’s Court President Vanda Tendulkar at the end of an investigation and trial that dragged on for eight years. Carvalho said that he was “happy” with the judgement and that all the charges against him were “false”.
Speaking to IANS after the verdict was delivered, advocate Vikram Varma, counsel of Fio Mackeown, Scarlett’s mother, said the crimil justice system has let them down.
“The crimil justice goes into motion and those who are charged are acquitted, which essentially means that nobody killed her, nobody hurt her, nobody gave her cocaine,” Varma said.
“So the issue is, if someone has been murdered, it is the job of the investigating agency to find out who has done it and present adequate evidence for the charges they have filed against these people. Now that particular system has failed,” he said.
Scarlett’s half-ked body was found at Anju beach in February 2008. While the police initially tried to pass off the incident as a suicide, a second autopsy revealed 52 injury marks on her body as well as traces of a cocktail of drugs in her system.
The case was subsequently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation by the then Congress-led coalition government, after a high-profile campaign for justice by Fio, who during course of the trial accused then state Home Minister Ravi ik as well as his son Roy, of trying a cover-up for gthe crime.
The trial was also delayed due to the transfer of five judges from the Goa Children’s Court, which is authorised to try crimil cases against minors in the coastal state. “The delay has been of a reluctant system, which does not want to investigate a crime committed on a foreigner, if the crime has been committed by a local person,” Varma said. (IANS)