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Minister: Teen's Goa murder covered up

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  • Indian police covered up murder of UK girl in Goa, state's tourism minister said
  • Police arrest one man over the death of the 15-year-old
  • Mother of Scarlett Keeling says she thinks police have arrested wrong man
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NEW DELHI, India -- Police covered up the murder of a British teenage girl in Goa last month to protect the tourist industry, a state minister and local media said Monday.


Scarlett Keeling stands on Anjuna beach in Goa a few days before her death.

Officers had initially said Scarlett Keeling had drowned on Anjuna beach after taking drugs, but changed their story when the 15-year-old's mother protested and a second autopsy suggested she had been raped and murdered.

A suspect in the case was arrested Sunday but Fiona MacKeown said she did not believe he was the man who killed her daughter.

"This is a clear case of murder and it has gone out of proportion because the police tried to cover it up," Francisco X. Pacheco, Goa's Tourism Minister told

Indian media suggested the cover-up was an attempt to protect Goa's tourism industry.

"They should have arrested this man a long time ago and this issue would have got diluted, but now because of the tainted image of some police officers in the case, things have gone out of hand," Pacheco said.

Police said they were investigating allegations of a cover-up and the actions of junior officers.

"There are certain things under my scrutiny and I have taken cognizance of all these issues, specially these officers," Kishan Kumar, a senior police officer overseeing the probe told Reuters.

Keeling's mother said she also believed police were trying to cover up the truth behind her daughter's murder, and that they had arrested Samson D'Souza, 29, to make it look like they were making progress in the case.

"We've had an awful lot of contact with people that have been in this situation before, and they've warned us to be careful (that) the police will try and find someone immediately to try and put a front on it that they're actually doing something," Fiona MacKeown told BBC radio on Monday.

Kumar described D'Souza as a "local Anjuna boy" who was a bartender at Liu's, a beachfront bar. He said police had confirmed D'Souza's role in Keeling's rape and were now trying to find evidence that he killed the teenager.

"We have sufficient evidence to show that he was involved in rape," Kumar told CNN. "So far as murder is concerned, we are investigating further."

Scarlett and her family arrived in November for an extended vacation in Goa, known for its white sandy beaches and dance music scene. Beachfront shacks house the bars that fuel the nightlife.

MacKeown said Scarlett was left in the care of a trusted male friend and his aunts while the rest of the family traveled to an adjoining Indian state, but she told the BBC that she has had no contact with the family since her daughter's death.

The mother said Monday she sent a letter to Goa's chief minister asking for India's Central Bureau of Investigation to look into the case.

Goa is popular with Western tourists but several tourists have died from drug overdoses in recent years while women have been attacked and sexually assaulted.

The Times Of India said 126 foreigners have died in Goa over the last two years and in January this year a 30-year-old British woman was raped. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Tess Eastment contributed to this report.

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