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Uttar Pradesh’s forensic science labs fail CAG’s litmus test

The CAG report on the performance audit of modernisation and strengthening of the police force (2011-16), tabled in the state legislative assembly, has found there is a shortage of modern equipment in forensic science laboratories in Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi and Ghaziabad.

lucknow Updated: Jul 24, 2017 16:14 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Comptroller and Auditor General,UP’s forensic laboratories,Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission
The Comptroller and Auditor General has detected lapses in the functioning of UP’s forensic laboratories.

At a time when the report of forensic science laboratory in Lucknow on the suspicious powder found inside the UP assembly is mired in controversy, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has detected lapses in the functioning of UP’s forensic laboratories.

The CAG report on the performance audit of modernisation and strengthening of the police force (2011-16), tabled in the state legislative assembly, has found there is a shortage of modern equipment in forensic science laboratories in Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi and Ghaziabad.

Under the modernisation scheme, the government released Rs 53.55 crore for the procurement of equipment but only 55% of the budget was utilised.

The forensic directorate told the CAG that most of the equipment had to be imported from foreign countries. Funds had to be surrendered as tenders could not be finalised, it said.

The directorate said tenders had been invited for two-three times for most of the equipment as suitable technical/financial bids were not received.

During physical verification of FSL at Agra, the CAG found that physics and toxicology sections were facing shortage of basic instruments like fuming hoods, hanging load system and electric furnace. The FSL at Lucknow has only one genetic analyser.

The laboratories are also facing shortage of technical manpower. The CAG found that overall shortage of technical staff (scientific assistant, senior scientific assistant, scientific officer, junior lab assistant and lab assistant) increased from 47% in 2012-13 to 67% in 2015-16. The state government said the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) has been asked to fill vacant posts.

Due to delay in examination of samples, pendency of cases hinders the working of forensic laboratories.

The number of pending cases at Lucknow, Agra and Varanasi increased from 6,617 in January 2011 to 15,052 in March 2016.

The state government informed the CAG that new laboratories and more sections had been opened in various FSLs but in the absence of manpower and dependency on old technical staff pendency of samples has increased.

The CAG observed that the improper collection of forensic science evidence was being done due to shortage of manpower and kits. Collection of forensic evidence requires expert manpower with specialised knowledge of forensic science. During scrutiny of records of FSL, the CAG detected anomalies in collection of samples.

“Investigation in criminal cases gets hampered as head constables and inspectors in the state police lack expertise and specialised knowledge. The National Police Mission in its report recommended posting of crime scene officer with crime investigation kit at each police station. But the proposal has not been implemented yet,” CAG said.

During investigation at Agra’s FSL, the CAG found that consumables stock register, dead stock register and equipment stock register were not maintained. Proper utilisation of chemicals and various consumables and their pilferage could not be ascertained in the audit.

Under the modernisation plan, regional forensic science laboratories (RFSLs) were to be opened in Moradabad, Jhansi, Gorakhpur, Allahabad and Ghaziabad in 2010.

The aim of the RFSLs was to reduce the workload of the four functional FSLs and to enhance the capacity for analysis of samples.

Even after seven years, the RFSLs are yet to become operational.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 16:14 IST