The investigation into the murder of the British teenager Scarlett seems to have been consigned to the limbo, at least for now. No one knows who is handling it!
Ever since the body of the 15-year-old British teenager Scarlett Eden Keeling 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.
Following a relentless campaign by the dead girl's mother Fiona MacKeown, the Goan government announced it was handing over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI).
That was on April 2. But 25 days later, India's premier investigating body says it is yet to receive any instruction on the issue.
"We have not taken over the Scarlett Keeling case nor have we received any instruction regarding it," said G Mohanty, CBI spokesman. The Goa police would only say, "The case is no longer with us..."
"The Goa Government should have issued an official notification demanding the CBI immediately take over the case, but all they did was send a request letter," said Keeling family lawyer Vikram Varma. "It has been over three weeks and we are still waiting."
Chief Minister Digambar Kamat was not available to comment.
One man badly affected in the process is Michael Mannion, a British national, who has been forced to cool his heels in India. He has been virtually barred from leaving the country.
Mannion says he has done all he can to assist the police case and is desperate to return home to London, but the police won't let him.
"My life is on hold and I just want to return home...I have nothing to hide...My father in London is unwell and his health is deteriorating. I am also running out of money and need to get back to work," he told the Hindustan Times.
It was Mannion who told the police he saw the main accused, Samson D'Souza, on top of Keeling, less than two hours before she was found dead.
Meanwhile, Keeling's mother Fiona MacKeown, due to return to India, to "renew her campaign justice," is taking the help of Clarence Mitchel of the McCanns fame for some image makeover, it is reported.
Mitchell has been managing the media for Kate and Gerry McCanns, the beleaguered parents of the child Madeline who went missing in Portugal.
Madeleine McCann disappeared in May last yera in the resort of Praia da Luz, just days short of her fourth birthday. Hers parents said that they had left her unsupervised in a ground floor bedroom with her two-year-old twin siblings while they ate at a restaurant about 120 metres away.
While the McCanns received a lot of support from various quarters in the initial days of their campaign for the missing child, the climate turned hostile at one stage as it was thought they were trying to cash in on the public sympathy - literally. The Portuguese police even named them suspects, though nothing came of it.
Mitchell, a former BBC correspondent, has sought to project a positive image of the couple right through, and it is to him the 43-year-old Fiona has turned now. After all she too is in some similar predicament as are McCanns.
She had to do a lot of explaining for leaving her teenaged daughter to fend for herself in an alien land and going ahead with her sight-seeing tour in the company of her boyfriend.
There are other problems as well. As she told the Daily Mail: "They are trying to insinuate I am a drugs runner.
"The defence lawyer is claiming it and so is one of the government ministers.
"They have also said I should be charged with manslaughter for the bohemian way I bring up my children."
Still she would go back to Goa, she asserted, to get at the truth.
Incidentally Fionna, mother of eight (minus the dead Scarlett), has broken with her boyfriend Rob Clarke since her last visit to India.
Clearly Mithcell has his work cut out for him!