High Court of Mumbai at Goa on Friday, 6th July 2018, ordered the transfer of the investigation of the case of murder of Swedish tourist Felix Dahl to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Will Felix Dahl get justice at last?
22-year-old Felix Dahl, a Swedish National, decided to visit Goa in October 2014. Little did he know that this holiday would be his last? On January 28th, 2015, Felix Dahl’s body was spotted by a local outside her house in Patnem, Canacona (South Goa).
The eyewitness statements and circumstantial evidence pointed to murder. But the local police put Dahl’s death down to an accidental fall wherein he cracked his skull and bled to death. So no charge-sheet was registered at the time. Almost one and a half years later, in 2016, upon the persistence of the advocate Shikha Sethia, and Dahl’s family, the JMFC Canacona directed the Police to register a case of murder. (http://www.navhindtimes.in/hc-orders-transfer-of-swedish-tourist-death-case-to-cbi/)
It is said that Felix had gotten into a fight with a local the previous evening and was taken to the Agonda Police station. He was last seen the night before his death at a local restaurant just 200 meters away from where his body was found the next morning. (https://www.pressreader.com/india/mid-day/20180427/281736975065100)
Minna Pirhonen, Felix’s mother, was not convinced that her son’s death was accidental. The Post Mortem report in Goa confirmed death due to bleeding after falling and hitting his head on a stone. A second autopsy conducted in Finland confirmed Dahl’s head injuries were not the result of an accident but murder.
Ever since his death, the family has had to fight the authorities and the police in Goa to have the case properly investigated. They even offered a reward of 1,400 Euros (One Lakh Rupees) for any information on the killer.
Dahl’s mother Minna Pirhonen, represented by advocate Shikha Sethia, had appealed to the high court to transfer the case to the CBI. Finally, a few days ago the case was handed over to the CBI.
The Court observed…
“In the present case, there is a clear failure to examine the case in a fair and impartial manner. The requests to the highest officials have not brought about any change, nor the order of the magistrate. This failure could be the result of incompetence, indifference, prejudice, bias or an outside influence. We are not holding a disciplinary inquiry against the police authorities. Our endeavor is to ensure that there is a fair and partial investigation and the credibility of people in the rule of law in the state is maintained.”
We were able to contact Sanna Cutter, the victim’s aunt and get her reaction on the transfer of the case to the CBI.
Q. Do you have anything you would like to tell us regarding the transfer of the case to the CBI?
“Yes, I would like to say that finally we have been heard by two judges who have acknowledged the fact that the police in Goa tried to cover up my nephew Felix Dahl’s murder from the beginning as an accidental death and refused to investigate it correctly. I would think this method has been used by the police in Goa many times when it comes to the tourists’ murders and maybe even with the other cases. I have a feeling that they were following orders to do so for the reason that these murders hurt Goa’s image as a “Paradise holiday” destination worldwide.
The state of Goa has a duty to safeguard Human rights by providing for fair and impartial investigation as it is a part of the constitutional rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India. The Goa police failed to do this.”
Q. Have you heard from the CBI?
“We haven’t heard from CBI as yet. It’s taken 3.5 years of hard work to get where we are now, just hard work.”
Q. We understand that fighting a case in a foreign land is expensive?
“Yes, this is an expensive thing to do and so wrong that it would have to be like that. Getting justice and to find out what happened to the lost family member should not be like this.”
Q. What is your relation to Felix? (To authenticate the statements)
“I am his aunt, he was my sister’s oldest son.”
Q. Was Felix Swedish or Finnish?
“I and my sister are Finnish but Felix was born in Sweden and lived most of his life in Finland. He had a dual nationality.” (Our doubts were laid to rest.)
Losing a child in a faraway land under mysterious circumstances is not easy. Our hearts go out to the bereaved family. May Felix Dahl finally get justice!