At 3.30 am on Thursday, a team of eight policemen quietly left for Gandhinagar by road. Inside the Innova and Scorpio, in the police's custody, were Moninder Singh Pandher and Surender Koli, the accused in Nithari killings. Pandher and Koli will undergo narco-analysis tests at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar.
So what made the police choose the gruelling 1,000-km road journey over one by train or plane? Fear.
Fear that considering the appalling nature of their crime, Pandher and Koli would not be safe on public transport.
"We are sure that the two will not be spared if a flight or train passenger recognises them," said Dinesh Yadav, the investigating officer.
The police investigation is now entirely banking on the narco-analysis of Pandher and Koli. The tests will begin on Friday.
In a narco-analysis test, the subject is given an intravenous injection of sodium pentothal after which he loses control on himself within five to seven minutes. As the 'truth serum' enters the blood stream, it affects his faculties and his intellect gets blunted. "This state of mind makes him lose his capacity to lie and he comes out with the truth in reply to questions," said Ahmedabad-based psychiatrist Dr Hanif Lakdawala.
Dr JM Vyas, director, FSL, told HT that the type of questions to be asked would depend upon the request forwarded by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
Asked about the duration of the narco-analysis tests, Dr Vyas said it depended upon the individual's capacity and the type of answers being sought.
"Some individuals reveal much within half an hour while others may take hours," he said. Vyas said narco-analysis was more than a mere lie-detection test.
About the efficacy of narco-analysis, Dr Rajesh Maniyar, a psychiatrist, said sometimes very strong-willed and hardened criminals could resist telling the truth even after the serum dose. "In these case, the body's other parameters are measured to know whether he is telling the truth or not," he said.
Source said the FSL would require at least three days to conduct the different tests, including narco-analysis and brain fingerprinting.