As days go by, the task of establishing the identities of the dead whose bones were found near Moninder Singh Pandher's house in Noida is becoming more and more difficult.
Dr J Gauri Shankar, director of the Hyderabad-based Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) where the bone samples are to be sent, told HT that the samples are likely to be in a poor condition because they have been lying in a sewage drain for long, and that could lead to failure in the DNA tests.
That could be a setback in the investigations into the serial killings, in which Pandher and his servant Surendra Koli are the main accused.
The investigations "depend largely on the outcome of the DNA profiling of the bones found near Pandher's house," a CBI official said on condition of anonymity. He said more samples were being collected and would be sent to CDFD only by month-end.
Meanwhile, scientists say the delay in sending the bone samples is making the task even more difficult. “We will have to conduct a lot of experiments before we can conclusively say that the identity of the dead can be established from the bone samples that we are receiving," said a scientist at the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, CDFD.
Even if the preliminary experiments at the laboratory are a success, it could take several months to identify the dead and match them with their parents' DNA.
The CDFD had earlier handled forensic evidence from the mass graves discovered at Gujarat. "It took us around three months to carry out the experiments in that case. This time it could take us six months," Shankar said by phone.
The first batch of skeletal remains was fished out from the drain behind D5, Sector 31, in the last week of December.