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Mumbai: Staff crunch at FSL delays reports for graft cases

mumbai Updated: Nov 12, 2014 21:42 IST
Manish K Pathak
Manish K Pathak
Hindustan Times
Forensic Science Laboratory

A short-staffed Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at Kalina is struggling to effectively handle the number of corruption cases forwarded to it by the state Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), which has been working on overdrive this year to book corrupt government servants.

The ACB, which registered 1,053 bribery cases till November 11 this year, has forwarded all of them to the FSL for necessary forensic reports.

The ACB requires electronic surveillance as proof in bribery cases. As the FSL is short-staffed, speedy analysis of these cases is not possible, causing reports to be delivered late.

A forensic test takes at least eight days to be processed, following which a report is prepared. The Kalina FSL conducts various tests, such as Tape Authentication and Speaker Identification (TASI), DNA, toxicology, biology and ballistics.

FSL sources said the highest number of pending cases is for TASI. Around 1,600 such cases forwarded to FSL from ACB over the past two years are pending. This is attributed to the fact that of the total six FSLs across the state, only the one at Kalina has the facilities required to conduct the test.

Sources said there are only eight officers and three assistants in the department to conduct TASI in FSL, with 52 posts in the department lying vacant.

“For TASI, the FSL examines the voice recording of conversations between the accused and the complainant. It is necessary to provide a detailed report, describing events before the ACB laid a trap, and events during and after arresting the suspect. However, the FSL report in most bribery cases is secondary evidence,” said MK Malve, director at FSL, Kalina.

While numbers of corruption cases have risen, the FSL is not equipped to handle such large numbers. “Earlier, around 40 corruption cases were sent to us for analysis every year, but the numbers have increased to 100 in the last one-and-half years,” said Malve.

Many important cases have reached FSL. “Reports for some cases are sent on priority basis. The report for the case in which 35 policemen were caught on camera taking bribe was submitted in two months,” said Malve.

Corruption cases on the rise in the state (Source: ACB)

Type of corruption
2014 (till November 11)
1, 053
Disproportionate asset cases
Criminal misconduct cases