Thanks to a cigarette butt, the police will be able to prepare a strong case against 19-year-old Akbar Khan, who allegedly murdered his business partner last year.
Mohammad Shaikh's body with a slit throat was found in a tempo in Shahu Nagar at Dharavi junction on October 11, 2010. The cigarette butt found in the tempo was sent for testing at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Kalina last year. The laboratory sent the test reports to the police last week.
"The accused had smoked a cigarette and stubbed it out in the tempo. The DNA was extracted from the saliva on the cigarette butt. It has matched with that of the accused Akbar Khan," said an official from the FSL, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. "The DNA tests help us extract even the salivary remains that may have been dried up in the butt and test it," he added.
Khan was arrested five days after the murder. Khan, along with his partner Shaikh, had bought a tempo for their transport business. According to the police, Shaikh was frustrated as Khan allegedly sodomised him for three years. When Shaikh tried to force himself on Khan, in a fit of rage, Khan slit his throat, said the police.
Police inspector Gajanan Desurkar, the investigating officer of the case, said: "As I am on leave, I am not aware of the findings of the FSL report. We had sent the cigarette stub, along with other evidence from the crime scene, to the laboratory."
According to Desurkar, if Akbar's DNA matched with the one found on the cigarette stub from the crime scene, they will be able to build a strong case.
'Forensic evidence can strengthen case'
Between February and June 2010, three girls from Nehru Nagar area in Kurla were found murdered after being raped. When several police teams too failed in making a breakthrough, it was the DNA test on the strand of hair found near the body of the third victim, which led to the identity of the accused Javed Shaikh, 19.
According to Dr R Krishnamurthy, former director of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at Kalina, in addition to investigation, forensic evidence helps build a strong case against the accused. "Unlike eye-witnesses who may turn hostile, scientific evidence is not time-bound. It can be used in a court of law," said Krishnamurthy. "At a time when criminals are now using latest technology to dodge investigative agencies, forensic tests can be of great help."
The forensic laboratory is equipped to conduct DNA testing, check if a person was poisoned using viscera, conduct lie detector and voice authentication tests, trace the presence of alcohol in blood, find the explosives used in blasts.
Nisar Tamboli, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) (crime), said: "Forensic reports help gather evidence against an accused. As it is derived using scientific techniques, it cannot be disproved in a court of law. It improves chances of conviction."
According to forensic experts, the police still need to work on preventing the disruption of the crime scene to avoid the loss of crucial evidence. "Management of a crime scene is the backbone of evidence collection. This is an area where the police can improve," said Krishnamurthy.