CBI picks bones for DNA test | india | Hindustan Times
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CBI picks bones for DNA test

THE CBI on Wednesday started collecting bone and skull samples from the "mass graveyard" at Lunawada in Panchmahals district for DNA tests as ordered by the high court.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2006 11:56 IST

THE CBI on Wednesday started collecting bone and skull samples from the "mass graveyard" at Lunawada in Panchmahals district for DNA tests as ordered by the high court.

But relatives of the victims — suspected to have been killed in the post-Godhra riots and clandestinely buried in the Panam river bank — were not present at the site as required by the court order. The relatives stayed away from the site, as they feared arrest following the Lunawada Municipality filing criminal complaints against many of them on charges of 'illegal' exhumation of bodies.

The Gujarat High Court had last week ordered the CBI-supervised DNA testing of the skeletal remains and matching them with blood samples of relatives to establish their identities.

The court ruling had also specified that the relatives of the victims should cooperate in the process by offering their blood samples in the presence of CBI and state government officials.

"We are willing to cooperate as per the HC order, but they must withdraw the charges filed against us by Lunawada police," said a relative. NGO activist Raees Khan Pathan, who too has been named in the complaint, said the villagers shown by the police as witnesses were not relatives of the victims.

When the complaints were filed against the relatives on Monday, Raees Khan had said it was a move to derail the probe as in their absence the local police would be able to misguide the CBI team.

On the other hand, the state government has approached the HC alleging that the relatives and the NGOs have tampered with evidence by digging the graves.

State DGP A.K. Bhargava said the graveyard was in control of the victims' relatives from December 18 to December 27. "The bones have now been put together and thus mixed up," he said. "We have sought the court's direction about the procedure for collecting the bones."