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Scarlette case: Forensic expert suspended

The forensic expert who conducted the first autopsy on Scarlette Keeling has been suspended, with Goa Govt claiming to have found prima facie 'mistake' on the expert's part.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2008 13:48 IST

The forensic expert who conducted the first autopsy slain British girl Scarlette Keeling has been suspended, with Goa government on Wednesday claiming to have found prima facie 'mistake' on the expert's part.

Dr Silvano Sapeco, a forensic expert in the state-owned Goa Medical college and hospital, was suspended on Monday in Scarlett murder case investigation matter.

Government felt there was a mistake on his (Sapeco) part, state health minister Vishwajeet Rane told PTI this morning, refusing to elaborate on the 'mistake'.

The health minister said state government's parallel inquiry in Scarlett episode recommended the suspension.

This is the second suspension in Scarlett rape and murder case, which hit the headlines after the teenager's mother cried foul in her death. Police sub-inspector Nerlon Albuquerque, officer in-charge of Anjuna police station, was the first one to face the axe.

He was suspended for laxity in investigating the case.

Scarlette's mother, Fiona Mackeown, had alleged that the PSI tried to cover up the case. Scarlette's bruised corpse was found on Goa's popular Anjuna beachfront on February 18.

Rane said the state government's inquiry into the entire episode is still on. "We are examining the entire case from various angles and prima facie there was a mistake on Sapecos part", the minister said.

Sapeco conducted the first autopsy on Scarletts body but did not express the possibility of homicidal drowning in his findings.

The first autopsy sparked off the entire controversy with Fiona demanding a second detailed autopsy on her daughter's body.

The second autopsy conducted by a forensic experts team sans Sapeco recommended the death be investigated as a murder.

Little after the second autopsy findings, Sapeco went to the press with a statement that "he had verbally expressed possibility of homicidal drowning in this case to the police after the first autopsy".

Post-second autopsy incidents saw police claiming to have cracked the case arresting two locals Samson D Souza a barman and alleged drug dealer Placido Carvalho.

Just as state inspector general of police Kishan Kumar announced the investigations in the case over, Sapeco filed a final opinion contradicting police line of investigation.

This reportedly perturbed the state government propelling action against the forensic expert. Police too had recommended that Sapeco be suspended as he was hampering the investigation in the entire episode, a source close to Goa chief minister said.