When former supermodel Viveka Babajee, 37, was found hanging at her Khar residence in June 2010, the police registered a suicide case. However, certain factors, such as alien DNA tissues under her finger nails and the lines ‘U killed me Gautam Vora [her stockbroker boyfriend],’ scribbled in her personal diary, raised suspicions of foul play.
The police decided to send the diary for handwriting analysis in May this year, hoping for a breakthrough in the case. However, the analysis report, claim the Khar police, has not reached them yet.
In March 2011, Nidhi Gupta, a chartered accountant and part-time lecturer, allegedly threw her two children, Gaurav, 7, and Mahika, 3, from the 19th floor of her Malad apartment, before jumping to her death. While the police found a suicide note signed by Gupta, her father alleged that the handwriting on the note was not Gupta’s. The note was sent for analysis. But a year-and-a-half later, the Dindoshi police claim they are yet to receive the report.
While the Mumbai police often seek the help of the handwriting bureau to build a stronger case, it often takes at least two-three years to get the analysis reports, which results in trials in the cases getting delayed.
The handwriting bureau falls under the state Crime Investigation Department (CID). The study, founded on the belief that each individual has a unique handwriting, can help throw light on aspects of a crime. It can eliminate possibility of foul play in an apparent suicide case by confirming that the suicide note was written by the victim. In forgery cases, it can ascertain that the person booked for forgery was the one who forged the signature.
The inordinate delay in getting reports was noted by the Bombay high court in a recent order. In the order passed on January 27, 2012, on a petition filed by one Nirmalabai Gogad, the division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice RD Dhanuka noted: “Even after a lapse of more than two-and-a-half years, we are informed that the handwriting expert’s opinion is not made available. The reason cited is that the expert is over-burdened and has too many cases in his hand. We were informed that ordinarily handwriting expert takes about not less than 2/3 years to give his opinion.”
The bench suggested that the state should either increase the number of handwriting experts or explore the possibility of outsourcing surplus work to private empaneled handwriting experts , to ensure that investigation and trial of criminal cases is not derailed because of delay in procuring expert opinion.
Dr Rukmini Krishnamurthy, director of Helik advisory limited, a private laboratory engaged in handwriting analysis and other forensic examination, has offered the services of their laboratory for investigations. “We have offered to help the investigating machinery in getting quick opinions on handwriting samples from our laboratory.”