The government of Goa in western India has slammed media reports suggesting foul play over the "missing body parts" in the Scarlett Keeling murder case. Standard procedures have been followed in the two autopsies conducted, it has asserted.
Ever since the 15-year-old's body was found on the Anjuna Beach in Goa on Feb.18 this year, allegations are flying thick and fast, with "cover-up" stories emanating again and again from quarters close to the girl's mother Fionna MacKeown.
She is herself accused of having been indifferent to her daughter's welfare, leaving her to fend for herself in a strange land and going ahead with her own tour programme in the company of her boyfriend. Unfazed she is carrying on her campaign "for justice."
After a postmortem in Britain, Fionna's lawyer Vikram Varma had said Scarlett Keeling's stomach, uterus and kidneys had all been removed, giving rise to suspicions of foul play.
Vikram Varma said that there was no justification for removing entire organs without permission, and said that he would make a complaint to the Goan authorities.
"Fiona was shocked and disturbed about this when she came to know," he said.
"I am waiting for an email from the coroner confirming in writing what is missing so I can then take it up with the Ministry of Health," he added.
"There is no reason to take these organs, a doctor only takes a sample of an organ for tests. To remove the whole organ without written consent is not permissible."
A spokesman for the Exeter and Greater Devon coroner confirmed that a third post mortem had been carried out but said that results would not be released for six to eight weeks. Devon and Cornwall police declined to comment.
Keeling's body was flown back to Britain on March 31, after two autopsies.
But the Goa government asserted on Tuesday that there was no mystery about the "missing body organs."
At a specially convened press conference, Chief Secretary J. P. Singh lashed out at some sections of the national media for sensationalising and blowing out of proportion the baseless accusations of Fionna's lawyer.
Explaining the procedures followed by the doctors on both the occasions, Singh said every step in the two autopsies was documented.
During the first autopsy, full stomach, half of the spleen and half of the kidneys were removed. During the second autopsy, conducted on March 8, the remaining half of each of the kidneys and the remaining spleen were removed. The uterus too was removed to confirm sexual assault. This was preserved for histo-pathological analysis.
"Media reports about missing parts have given the impression that this was a cover up, which is completely incorrect and misleading." Mr. Singh maintained.
The government was responsive to the sentiments of the aggrieved mother Fiona Mackeown and was waiting for the Central Bureau of Investigations to take over the case.
Singh also sought to emphasise that Goa continued to be a safe place for tourists. Everything was being done by the government to enhance security and ensure safety of tourists.
But when asked whether Mackeown was deliberately trying to malign Goa's image, the official would only say, "She is distraught after the death of her child and she has every right to seek full justice."