In Sheena Bora case, old remains are a forensic nightmare

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 29, 2015 02:35 IST
Indrani Mukerjea on her way to the Khar police station in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

Forensic examinations are pivotal in solving murder cases, particularly to ascertain a dead person’s identity. But in the Sheena Bora case, it appears a fresh forensic investigation will reveal nothing new.

Cops on Friday retrieved a skull and a few more bones from the crime scene in Raigad district. Forensic experts say it would be difficult to deduce details from the human remains that are now in possession of the Mumbai police.

In May 2012, Raigad police had sent samples of human remains, reportedly from Bora’s corpse, that were found at the same site.

However, doctors at Sir JJ Hospital, where the first forensic and anatomy tests were done, were unable to carry out a conclusive investigation.

“We were sent bone, hair, tooth and nail samples from an unknown and charred body. However, what was provided were very small pieces and in charred condition. We found it was impossible to determine the age, gender and cause of death with what was available with us,” said Dr TP Lahane, dean of Sir JJ Hospital, Byculla.

After a year and a half, the hospital wrote back to Raigad police, saying the samples provided were not sufficient to conduct any forensic and anatomical examinations.

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On Friday, after a request by the Khar police station, the hospital handed over the preserved sample to the police. These have reportedly been sent to a forensic lab in Kalina.

According to forensic experts, it is unclear as to what can be found from the samples after three years.

“If a long bone of the skeleton is available, assuming it has been preserved in an ideal condition, then certainly the DNA of the deceased can be ascertained,” said Dr Shailesh Mohite, professor and head, forensics, Nair Hospital.

"If there is a molar tooth with its root preserved, the DNA can be certainly identified. And if there are long bones like femur, pelvic bone, or skull, there are relatively high chances of ascertaining age and gender. However, it is unlikely that the cause of death can be found out at all," said Dr Rajesh Dere, forensic expert, Sion Hospital.

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