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April 5, 2010

Keeling lawyer says Goa police, drug lords in cahoots

     London: A lawyer representing the mother of Scarlett Keeling, the British teenager who was raped and killed in early part of 2008 on Goa’s Anjuna Beach, has claimed that drug traders and police in the state are in cahoots, and should be prosecuted in court. “There is a very strong cartel involving police and drug traders. The forces out to protect the criminals are very powerful. There are people who should be in the dock,” The Times quoted Vikram Varma, a Supreme Court lawyer representing Scarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown, as saying. A court in Goa will start hearing evidence today in the trial of the alleged killers of Scarlett, 15, the British girl who was raped and killed in 2008 in a case which exposed the seedy underside of the popular holiday destination. The public prosecutor said that he has a strong case against Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho, two local men who are accused of plying Scarlett with drugs, raping her and leaving her to die on Goa ’s Anjuna beach. On the eve of the trial, Varma told The Times that he still believed that police officers were protecting other suspects with links to the drugs trade. Varma also said that the prosecution could be hampered because witnesses, including a British man who said that he saw Scarlett being sexually assaulted, were too afraid to return to Goa to testify. The British witness, Michael Mannion, went into hiding in India after the attack and was banned from leaving the country for six months after he finally came forward as a witness. He said Fiona MacKeown, 44, is expected to give evidence, probably next week, but has to return to Britain by April 26.
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