This Article is From Feb 19, 2014

Scarlett Keeling case: 6 years later, a mother's fight for justice continues

Exactly six years ago, on February 18, 2008, Scarlett Keeling was found dead at Anjuna beach in north Goa.

Panjim: Even as cops in Goa insist they will push the courts to ensure that the trial in the rape case involving Tehelka's Tarun Tejpal is concluded in 60 days, justice in the rape and murder case of British national Scarlett Keeling is still awaited six years later.

Exactly six years ago, on February 18, 2008, 15-year-old Scarlett was found dead at the Anjuna beach in north Goa. The case was transferred to the CBI and two accused - both out on bail - have been facing trial since 2010. Till date, about 35 witnesses have been examined.

In an emotional letter to Goa's Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar sent on February 7, Scarlett's mother Fiona Mackeown has pleaded for the trial to be expedited.

"The men who killed my daughter have walked free while my daughter lies buried and as her mother I stand helpless in the hands of an administration for which justice has clearly taken a backseat," Fiona writes.

In his office in Porvorim, her lawyer Vikram Varma says that the injustice in Scarlett's case has been painful with hearings taking place once in 45 days. "How is that in the Scarlett case, the government doesn't have the resources to expedite the case but in the Tarun Tejpal case, they have found the resources to end the trial in 60 days? Justice has taken a huge blow," Mr Varma said.

The larger problem is that there is just one part-time judge in the Goa Children's Court who is over burdened with routine cases and therefore can devote only one day for cases involving crimes against children. The cases naturally drag on for years with no hope of the trial concluding.

"Six years is a long time and Scarlett deserves justice which lies in the hands of your administration. As leader of opposition in 2008, you stood as a beacon of justice. I hope me and my other children will still be able to look up to you with the same respect," Fiona says in her letter to the chief minister.

Law department officials told NDTV that the crisis was serious as there weren't enough judges. But they assured that corrective steps have been taken and that in the next two months, new judges would be appointed.