Fiona Mackeown, mother of slain British teenager Scarlett Keeling, was paid nearly 15,000 pounds by Channel 4 for selling exclusive television rights to report on her daughter's killing in Goa and its sorry aftermath, according to e-mails hacked from her lawyer Vikram Varma's account and anonymously posted on the Internet.
Scarlett's death, the subsequent attempts by the police in Panaji to hush up the case and Fiona's "struggle for justice" have now been published on wikileaks.org, a website from the wikipedia.org family which publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive documents.
The anonymous post "In Goa we trust: the murder-cover up of British school girl Scarlett Keeling, files, 2008" was uploaded on July 5. It contains over 1,000 pages of e-mails hacked from Varma's mail box including the lawyer's initial proposal to one Adam from Channel 4 and a final copy of the draft between the news channel and Fiona.
"Your channel would contribute a sum of 17,500 pounds towards her personal account in the name of Fiona Mackeown by cheque. Besides the above, your channel would bear all travel expenses for my client her family and Dakini Runningbear from the day your channel begins filming and till the last day of filming," the first draft of Varma's letter states. The sum later agreed upon was 15,000 pounds, says the website.
In return for the money, Varma has said that her client "would allow the channel to film the collection of Scarlett's body from Goa, transporting the body from India to Britain, the burial, the flying back with Fiona Mackeown, her family and Runningbear from London to Goa for the follow-up action in her struggle for justice, accompanying my client for visits to the courts and the police stations in this struggle for justice, among other occasions".
The anonymous post also contains photos of Scarlett Keeling's autopsy, a host of statements recorded by the police, case details, and photos of the suspect in the Keeling murder Samson D'Souza.
Varma confirmed to IANS on Saturday that his e-mail account had been hacked by "those who want to weaken the prosecution case" in Scarlett's murder.
"It's a fruitless shot. It's an effort to jeoparadise the case. This has been done by those who want to prove that Fiona is a careless mother," Varma said, claiming some of the uploaded content had been "tampered with".
"This is not related to national security or some serious security matter. There is nothing in my mail which is objectionable. These are just private conversations with my friends. I am surprised why wikileaks is interested in this content," Varma said.
Scarlett was found dead at Anjuna beach in February last year. After efforts by the police and the health authorities to pass it off as an accident, the murder was exposed by Fiona with the help of the media. The state government was forced to rope in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the case. Two people have been arrested. They are currently out on bail.