Vikram Varma

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Vikram Varma is a prominent Indian advocate based in Goa who is originally from New Delhi. Vikram Varma achieved his prominence in representing highly publicized cases by the news media, mostly involving foreigners, such as the sensational Scarlett Keeling case which captured the imagination of the Indian public. The Keeling case started when some local authorities tried to cover up the death of a 15-year-old British girl as a drowning accident. The case was debated in the Local Parliament and even mentioned in the national Parliament in Delhi. It was widely covered by media including BBC,[1] The Guardian, The Times, CNN-IBN, Times of India and other national media. It has been transformed into a documentary by Channel 4[2] and a Bollywood movie.[3][4]

Advocate Varma played a pivotal role in the Scarlett Keeling case with the Guardian newspaper describing him as a "dogged local lawyer who helped dismantle the official account. Amid allegations of cover-up and corruption, Scarlett's Mother and Vikram Varma managed to get the case reopened".[5]

The Russian Consulate has appointed Vikram Varma as their advocate in Goa. For the last six years, as Advocate for Russia in Goa he looks after all the legal requirements of the 100 thousand Russian Tourists who visit Goa every year.

Some of the highly publicized cases in Goa are:

  • Ingo Grill (deported) & his Saturday Night Market vs. Government
  • Scarlett Keeling case
  • Tourism Minister Micky Pacheco's involvement in the death of his mistress Nadia Torado[6][7][8]
  • Sexual assault on Russian minor.[9]

In July 2009, in an attempt to embarrass Scarlett Keeling's mother, Fiona MacKeown, and her legal Team, email correspondence of Vikram Varma and his clients were leaked to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks published an independent report headlined: 'In Goa we trust: the Rape and Murder of British School Girl Scarlett Keeling'. A subsequent report was titled 'The murder-coverup of British School Girl Scarlett Keeling'. In its report Wikileaks wrote 'These autopsies showed that Scarlett had sandy water in her lungs and around 50 bruises and abrasions, suggesting that she had drowned in shallow water after a struggle. She had also ingested a cocktail of drugs including LSD and Cocaine. The Central Bureau of Investigation took over the case. Two men were detained and a police officer suspended. The case is ongoing. The emails also show correspondence with various journalists from the UK, India and elsewhere who can be contacted for independent verification. Included in these is a 15,000 pound contract between the British TV company Channel 4 and Fiona MacKeown for a series of exclusive interviews. Sky TV and others also paid for exclusives'.[10] This independent Wikileaks report headline, reinforcing what MacKeown and Varma had been asserting from Day 1, further galvanised media coverage of the case.

On 16 December 2009, women Parliamentarians cutting across party lines, joined hands to defend one of Vikram Varma's clients in the national Parliament in Delhi, India. According to a Times of India report[11] CPM's Brinda Karat, Najma Heptullah, Maya Singh and Jaya Bachchan insisted they would not allow any Member of the Parliament to use the House to abuse women. BJP Spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad also objected to the speech attacking Mr. Varma's client. Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury supported[12] the BJP Spokesperson's views on this subject.

Fiona MacKeown claimed there was a conspiracy to cover-up the rape and murder of her daughter. She accused the son of an Indian Minister of involvement in the affair.[13][14]

Vikram Varma is currently residing and holds his office in Porvorim.

BBC and Forbes have interviewed Vikram because of his expertise on the Complex Land Laws in Goa.[15]

CNN-IBN's Editor in Chief, in his news program, has done a joint interview with the then Goa Chief Minister Mr. Kamat and Mr. Varma on the ground realities for tourists in Goa.[16]

Mid-Day in an article[17] on millionaire NRIs using Rehab facilities in Mumbai sought Vikram Varma's views on the topic.

On 4 December 2011, the Russian Government used one of Vikram Varma's premises as a polling booth for its national elections. As this was the first time that voting facilities were provided to Russians in India outside of its Embassy, it was widely reported by the Indian media such as Times of India and DNA.[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, Chris (19 March 2010), BBC Coverage of Keeling Trial, BBC News
  2. ^ "Who Killed Scarlett", Channel 4, archived from the original on 10 September 2011, retrieved 16 October 2011
  3. ^ Doward, Jamie (3 July 2011), "Scarlett Keeling Goa murder", Guardian, London
  4. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48999773
  5. ^ Chamberlin, Gethin (18 April 2010), "Scarlett Keeling murder", Guardian, London
  6. ^ "Nadia's husband had accused Micky of Aldultery", Digital Goa, 3 June 2010, archived from the original on 7 May 2012, retrieved 16 December 2011
  7. ^ "Goa minister quizzed by police over woman friend's death", Governance Now, 4 June 2010, retrieved 16 December 2011
  8. ^ "Crime Branch Records statements of Pacheco in Nadia Death Case (Interview with Vikram Varma)", GOA 365, 4 June 2010, retrieved 19 December 2011
  9. ^ "Times Editor in Chief panel discussion", Times of India TV, archived from the original on 15 July 2010, retrieved 25 December 2011
  10. ^ In Goa we trust the murder-coverup of British school girl Scarlett Keeling, WikiLeaks, 5 July 2009, retrieved 24 February 2013
  11. ^ "Brinda Karat, Jaya Bachchan in Parliament", Times of India
  12. ^ "Cong Spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury", Times Now TV
  13. ^ Chamberlain, Gethin (2 August 2010), "Scarlett Keeling's mother accuses Goan minister of links to drugs mafia", The Guardian, London, retrieved 24 February 2013
  14. ^ "Goa wants Centre to deny Fiona visa, ban entry", The Indian Express, 18 March 2008, retrieved 24 February 2013
  15. ^ "The Big Goa Land Grab", Forbes India, 16 November 2009, retrieved 16 December 2011
  16. ^ "Goa for Tourists", CNN-IBN TV, 29 January 2010, retrieved 22 January 2012
  17. ^ Menon, Vinod Kumar; Ranga, Ketan (20 December 2009). "Chatwal checks in Rehab". Mid-Day. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Russians in Goa can now cast votes for their country's elections", DNA India, 4 December 2011, retrieved 4 December 2011
  19. ^ "Russians cast votes in Goa for their country's election", Times of India, 4 December 2011, retrieved 4 December 2011

External links[edit]