‘Police covered-up tourist murders’

MUMBAI: Relatives of 10 foreigners alleged to have been murdered in Goa, including British teenager Scarlett Keeling, have written to India’s prime minister demanding an investigation into what they claim are cover-ups by police.
Minna Pirhonen — the mother of Finnish national Felix Dahl, who was found dead in the tourist state in January 2015 — said on Wednesday that the families had couriered a letter to Narendra Modi’s office last week.
In it they demand an “unbiased and independent” probe by India’s Supreme Court, the highest judicial body, into the Goa police’s handling of the 10 deaths that all occurred since 2005.
“The quality of the work of the police in Goa should be investigated. Instead of investigating the murders and killings, the local police want to cover up the truth,” read the letter.
The open letter, dated May 21, claims the investigation “is needed to reveal the connections between the locals, the police in Goa, drug mafia and politicians and their involvement in the deaths of tourists and locals in Goa”.
The deaths of several foreigners in Goa over the last decade or so, many in suspicious circumstances or from drug or alcohol abuse, have blighted the picturesque state’s reputation as a tourist haven.
The most high profile was that of 15-year-old Keeling, whose bruised body was found in shallow water on a beach in 2008.
Her case made international headlines and cast a spotlight on the seedy side of Goa.
It also drew attention to India’s sluggish justice system.
A right to information request revealed last month that 245 foreign tourists have died in Goa over the past 12 years, according to the Hindustan Times newspaper. — AFP