Forensic science students of Delhi University’s SGTB Khalsa College have developed some techniques that can prove to be useful in solving tough crime cases.
As part of their innovation project, titled Fluorescent Powder Compositions for Developing Latent Fingerprints, students have prepared a multipurpose fingerprint-detecting composition which is not surface-specific and can be used on a broad spectrum of articles that are most commonly found at crime scenes.
“The composition prepared by us has a wide range of applications. It can detect fingerprints on a range of items, including absorbent (for example, paper, wood) and non-absorbent (for example glass, plastic); white and multicoloured; and smooth and rough surfaces. The composition also detects fingerprints on that crime scene evidence which has been accidently or deliberately wetted,” says GS Sodhi, principal investigator of the project and associate professor and coordinator, Forensic Science Unit, SGTB Khalsa College.
This means that the fingerprint can be detected even if a suspect, after committing a crime, throws the weapon in a river or water body, buries or burns it. The new composition also detects fingerprints on CDs without spoiling the stored data. In case of rewritable CDs, more files may be added after detection.
The composition is indigenous, non-toxic and cost-effective. It is fluorescent in nature and hence assists in detecting weak, faint fingerprints that are commonly found at crime sites.
Team members of the innovation project say they have acquired a first-hand experience in research methodologies. From building of hypothesis and literature survey to experimentation and quality assessment, they learnt how an idea may be translated into a technology. “We were asked to come up with a technique of fingerprints detection which would assist the law enforcement agencies to solve crime cases in a scientific manner. We were successful in propounding a composition which can lift fingerprints not only on articles removed from conventional crime scenes, but also from those sites which have been accidently or deliberately spoiled,” says Chetan Sikka, a student of the postgraduate diploma in forensic science who worked on this project.
An Indian patent titled, A Composition for Developing Latent Impression Marks and a process for preparing the same was filed by the University of Delhi for this endeavour. The undergraduate students are listed as inventors in this patent application. If the patent gets commercialised, the students will get a share of royalty.
The equipment and consumables procured during the course of the project have been passed on to the forensic science unit of the college. The resources acquired by virtue of the innovation project will be used by the students. “At the final presentation on the outcome of the innovation project, we had invited officers from Delhi Police, Military Police and Delhi State Fingerprint Bureau for a critical assessment of our research work. These user departments are now well aware of the academic and research activities being undertaken at our institute in the field of forensic science. In fact, they are now requesting our college to run periodic training courses for their personnel. This technique will assist the forensic scientists to solve crime cases scientifically. The composition prepared by us for detecting fingerprints is first of its kind,” adds Sodhi, who has also written a book called Indian Civilization and the Science of Fingerprinting.
As part of their innovation project, titled Fluorescent Powder Compositions for Developing Latent Fingerprints, students have prepared a multi-purpose fingerprint-detecting composition which is not surface-specific and can be used on a broad spectrum of articles that are most found at crime scenes