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Forensic analysis moves at snail’s pace

Kalina Lab has two scientists instead of required 10, tests of evidence in cases likely to take two years, reports Shahkar Abidi.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2009 01:50 IST
Shahkar Abidi

In February a visitor from the United States of America was allegedly molested inside the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Juhu.

The closed circuit television (CCTV) footage that was said to have captured the incident was sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Kalina for analysis.

But do not expect a speedy investigation, as it may take more than two years to retrieve the data at the laboratory.

A month before the CCTV footage was sent, computers used by a gang suspected of booking air tickets online using stolen credit card numbers and later selling these tickets at a discount were sent to the laboratory. The results, which the police hope will strengthen their case, are still awaited.

In a case of fraud over the Internet that also involved mobile phones, cinema tickets were bought online with stolen credit card numbers and sold on the theatre premises. The mobile phones were sent to the laboratory, and the results are not yet in.

There are several such cases, and these may not be solved for a couple of years. The reason is the cyber forensics division of the Directorate of Forensic Science has only two scientific examiners. The minimum requirement is 10. Over 200 cases are waiting to be investigated while more continue to pile up.

Officials said at the current rate it would take two years for evidence analysis in a case. “Staff shortage has led to a backlog of cases,” said MV Garad, director, Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory (DFSL), Kalina. “We are doing our best with available resources.”

Laboratory officials said they received 15-20 cases every month. Requesting anonymity, sources said two scientific examiners could at the most work through eight or nine cases a month. A senior DFSL official said meeting even this target was tough, as the scientists often had to be present in court for some cases.

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