Scarlet case: NGO to challenge Children's Court

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{image-scarlet keeling_11082008.jpg}Panaji, Aug 11: A city-based NGO has decided to challenge the Children's Court's order passed on Monday, Aug 11, refusing to direct the police to investigate the role of Fiona Mackeown in the death of her daughter British teenager Scarlett Keeling, in the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court.

The Children's Court on Monday, Aug 11 disallowed the complaint filed by Utt Goenkara spokesman Adv Aires Rodrigues on the ground that as per Section 20 of the Children's Act, cognizance of any offence under the Act could be taken only on a complaint filed by the child, her parents, guardians, close relatives, police or a competent authority.

Mr Rodrigues said he had not asked the Children's Court to take cognizance of the offence but to direct the police to investigate under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the role of Ms Mackeown in leaving her minor girl in the company of a stranger, Julio, and proceeding on holiday to Gokarna in neighbouring Karnataka.

He said Scarlett came to India with her mother Fiona, who left the minor daughter in the company of Julio with the intention that he would take care of the girl by giving her food, shelter and money, while she along with her other children and a male companion went on holiday in Gokarna.

Ms Mackeown, he said, was fully aware that Scarlett was a minor and that the law mandates that all children within Goa be provided a safe environment, wherein the parents are responsible to ensure that the child is not abused and that her development is nurtured.

Mr Rodrigues also referred to media reports wherein certain extracts of the diary, maintained by Scarlett, mention about forcible sexual favours, which she had to bestow upon Julio in return for the so called 'care'.

He had submitted to the court that the conduct of Ms Mackeown was in violation of Section 8(1)(2) and Section 8(12) of the Goa Children's Act 2003 and needed to be investigated in respect of her behavior and her activities in Goa.

It may be recalled that Ms Mackeown, who was expected to airdash from London to depose before the CBI, had postponed her visit to the state in the wake of Utt Goenkara filing a complaint in the Children's Court on charge of 'criminal negligence'.

She was the main complainant in the alleged 'rape and murder' of her daughter, whose body was found from the infamous Anjuna beach in North Goa on February 18 under suspicious circumstances. The authorities were forced to conduct two post-mortems on Scarlett's body as Ms Mackeown mounted pressure on the higher authorities, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, suspecting foul play.

The concerned police inspector was dismissed later and a doctor, who conducted the first port-mortem examination, was suspended on charge of dereliction of duty, even as the case was handed over to the CBI.

The second autopsy, unlike the first, disclosed that Scarlett was heavily drugged and raped before being murdered. Mackeown later took her daughter's body to London, while police here have kept the British teenager's internal organs for further investigation.


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