Goa CM Kamat rules out CBI probe
Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat on Tuesday ruled out a CBI probe into the mysterious death of British teenager Scarlette Keeling and said he was optimistic that police will crack the case in the next two days.
"I am sure the case will be cracked in the next two days totally and I have full faith in the officers who are handling the investigations. There is no need for a CBI enquiry," he said. The 15-year-old girl was found dead under suspicious circumstances on Goa's popular Anjuna beach on February 18.
Keeling's mother Fiona MacKeown had demanded a CBI investigations after expressing lack of faith in the Goa police over the probe into the alleged rape and mysterious death of the girl.
Samsung D'Souza, 29, a local bartender was arrested on Sunday in connection with the incident which is snowballing into a major controversy. Police have registered a rape case against him.
With the incident generating adverse publicity for the tourism state, Kamat held a meeting with Inspector General of Police Kishan Kumar seeking details of the investigations. Kamat while giving a clean chit to the state police however said there is no need to "blow it out of proportion."
The Chief Minister in thinly veiled comments also sought to blame Scarlette's mother for the incident and said tourists should be careful.
"Mother should have cared for her children. She left her minor daughter with someone else. Tourists visiting here should be careful about certain things. We cannot expect police to look after action of each and every tourist."
The incident also figured in Parliament. Tourism Minister Ambika Soni Soni, however, sidestepped a demand by Brinda Karat (CPM) that her ministry should back a demand for a CBI probe. "I have no powers on security and safety (as law and order is state subject)," she said.
An ossification test meanwhile is being conducted on Scarlette's body by the Goa police to ascertain her age although her passport registers her age as 15 years.
While giving a clean chit to police, Kamat said "Right from the beginning, I have been saying that we will go to the root cause of the death. I had said we will swing into action after second autopsy and hence police are doing their job well."
He conceded that several allegations were being levelled against Anjuna police station officials for laxity in investigating the case.
"We will inquire into mistake, delay or laxity on the part of the police officers attached to Anjuna police station and we have already shunted a police sub inspector Nerlon Albuquerque against whom the allegations are levelled," the Chief Minister said.
Anjuna police sub inspector Nerlon Albuquerque was criticised for mishandling the case and trying to show it as accidental death due to drowning during initial probe.
After her mother's request for the second autopsy, the state government had ordered for the same, which hinted at possible foul play in Scarlette's death.
The Chief Minister said all police officers need not be blamed as the investigation in this case is done at the right earnest. "Superitendent of Police (north) Bosco George is an upright officer. He is doing a good job," Kamat lauded.
"These things also must have been happening in other tourist destinations. But the media without proper facts draw conclusion that Goa is unsafe," Kamat said. The CM also did not rule out the possibility of systematic campaign against the state to malign its image.
"We have 2.5 million tourists visiting the state. If such a large number of tourists visit the state and if one or two incidents take place of such a nature(Scarlette case) there is no need to blow it out of proportion," he said.