Increasing workload in recent years coupled with staff shortage has crippled the functioning of the handwriting bureau and the state Crime Investigation Department (CID) has sent a proposal to the state government, asking for creation of 34 posts for handwriting experts.
“Over the past few years, there has been an increase in white collar crimes and a lot of these include forgery and written material. Thus we have started receiving many more cases,” additional chief state examiner of documents (Mumbai) Jaysingh Sadashiv Landge, who also currently holding additional charge of the chief state examiner of documents (Pune) said to Hindustan Times.
Landge confirmed that the report had been sent to the state early this year. “We also receive cases from the courts, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and company and corporate bodies,” he added.
Langde said that on an average, the Mumbai handwriting bureau receives around 50 cases a month from police stations alone. “Each of our five experts manage to dispose of ten cases every month,” he claimed.
However, a source from the bureau said that they receive at least 70 cases a month, so there is a backlog of around 20 cases every month. Landge said that since 2007, there have been around 800 cases pending with the Mumbai bureau, but claimed that the situation has improved in the last two years. “Two years ago, there were only two handwriting experts working at the Mumbai bureau. Now, the number has risen to five and we are hopeful that once the provision for more vacancies is cleared, the rate of disposal will improve,” he said. Currently, analysts only deal with urgent cases and the rest remain pending.
Sources from the bureau told HT that apart from staff shortage, delays were also caused because police stations often send wrong or incomplete documents to them.
“For example, to detect a forged signature, we require a handwriting sample of the person whose signature is forged and that of the accused. If the police send us only the sample of the accused, We have to write to them for the other documents. This process ends up taking months sometimes as we correspond with the police station through the additional commissioner of the region,” a source said.