The government of Goa in western India has suspended the forensic expert who conducted the first autopsy on the slain British girl Scarlett Keeling. It says it found some mistake in his report, though it has not explained what was the mistake about.
State health minister Vishwajeet Rane Wednesday announced the suspension of Dr Silvano Sapeco of the state-owned Goa Medical College and hospital, but refused to elaborate on the 'mistake' the pathologist had committed.
He would only say that Dr.Sapeco was being suspended as a result of an internal enquiry conducted by the government.
Rane said the state government's inquiry into the entire episode was still on. "We are examining the entire case from various angles and prima facie there was a mistake on Sapeco's part," the minister said.
Ever since the 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling's body was found on the Anjuna Beach in Goa on Feb.18, an international tourist destination, all kinds of murky stories have been swirling around, many versions charging that the police are doing a hatchet job and trying to protect the culprits.
Goa police had initially tried to convince the British teen's mother Fionna MacKeown that her daughter's death was due to accidental drowning.
But after a vigorous campaign by the mother, a second autopsy was ordered which confirmed that Scarlett had been raped and murdered.
The independent panel of experts who did the second postmortem pointed to the possibility of sexual assault and possible homicidal drowning.
Accordingly Inspector General of Police Kishen Kumar said last week, "Prime suspect Placido Carvalho, who was arrested on Wednesday night, has confessed that he gave her drugs, raped her and left her on the beach. As the girl remained unconscious, she died during the high tide."
It was based on Dr Sapeco's first report that the police had mentioned drug overdose, but within a week he changed his stance and said the alcohol and drugs in her body were not sufficient to kill her. Apparently his later findings were based on the results of a stomach analysis.
This is the second suspension in Scarlett case. Police sub-inspector Nerlon Albuquerque, officer in-charge of Anjuna police station, was the first one to face the axe, on charges of laxity in investigation.