The prime British witness in the Scarlett Keeling murder case, Michael Mannion, has refused to travel to Goa to depose in court. However, he informed the CBI that he would be able to give his deposition from the UK through video conferencing.
Mannion, popularly known in the coastal belt as Mike Masala-who was feeling “stuck” in Goa after the state police refused to lift their lookout notice against him despite being a prime witness in the case-has now informed the CBI that, “Appearing as a prosecution witness will mean that I have to take time away from my employment. I expect reimbursement for any loss of earnings and expenses incurred.”
“The evidence so far clearly indicates that the CBI is not providing adequate energy towards justice. During his last visit to India, despite being recorded as a witness for the prosecution, my client was kept waiting for months without any financial compensation before being permitted to go back to his country,” said Mannion’s counsel in India Vikram Varma.
Varma said that for the sake of justice, Mannion is keen to depose with the facts witnessed by him but has preferred to exercise the efficient path of video conferencing which is available to him under Indian law and has communicated the same to the CBI. “The high-handed approach with little sensitivity towards an eye witness clearly has eroded the credibility of the CBI in the mind of my client. In the six months spent by my client in Goa, he lived in perpetual fear of being killed by those involved in the cover-up of this homicide. Yet, the CBI did not provide him with any protection at all,” added Varma.
Mannion, who is one of the prime prosecution witnesses, had said that he saw one of the accused, Samson D’Souza, lying on the 15-year-old British girl whose body was found at Anjuna beach on February 18. He also saw another accused, Placido Carvalho, sniffing cocaine along with Keeling at a shack hours before her body was found on the shore at Anjuna. Soon after police registered the murder case and issued a lookout circular against Mannion, he was in the country for almost 189 days as the police refused to lift the circular against him.
Mannion was amongst the witnesses who were present at the shack hours before Scarlett’s bruised body was found. Thereafter, Mannion went into hiding only to return following the lookout notice.
The Scarlett case is pending trial in the children’s court. A notice to appear in court was served on him through Scotland Yard detectives to come to India and depose.
Courtesy : TOI