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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Maharashtra government’s forensic lab in Solapur in a shambles

There is no equipment and no place for the officials to sit, let alone conduct any tests.

mumbai Updated: Jul 01, 2019 00:12 IST
Jayprakash S Naidu
Jayprakash S Naidu
Hindustan Times
What was termed as a mini-lab was a dilapidated structure, which was earlier a police school, and setting up a lab there would take at least six months.
What was termed as a mini-lab was a dilapidated structure, which was earlier a police school, and setting up a lab there would take at least six months.(HT Photo)
         

jayprakash.naidu@hindustantimes.com

In the beginning of the month, two class one officers from the Forensic Science Laboratories in Mumbai and Nanded and a staff of five from the Pune forensic lab were posted to the Solapur forensic mini-lab. As they reached there, they were in for an unpleasant surprise.

For, what was termed as a mini-lab was a dilapidated structure, which was earlier a police school, and setting up a lab there would take at least six months. There is no equipment and no place for the officials to sit, let alone conduct any tests.

Maharashtra has eight forensic labs at Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Amravati, Nanded and Kolhapur. The police departments in the rest of the districts in Maharashtra, where there is no forensic lab, sends their forensic samples to these centres. To reduce the burden, the home department had sanctioned five new mini-labs at Thane, Ratnagiri, Chandrapur, Solapur and Dhule, with a toxicology and biology department. “These two departments are much needed as the samples get spoiled due to high temperature and bacteria. It is important to cut down the travel time and ensure they are preserved properly,” said a forensic official.

One of the officials at Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina said, “The government has bought equipment worth ₹5 crore for the lab at Solapur, but as the infrastructure is not ready, it is lying unused. It will take at least six months for the lab to be set up. Till then, the officials there will have no work.”

When contacted, a senior home department official at Mantralaya, requesting anonymity, said, “It is true that the Solapur FSL is a shambles. Also, it may take a year for the lab to be set up. But the officials will have to set it up.”

When contacted for comments on the issue, the office of Director General, Legal and Technical, headed by Hemant Nagrale, directed this correspondent to contact the director of Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina.

Responding to the issue, KV Kulkarni, director of Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina, said, “It is the responsibility of the officials transferred to Solapur to oversee the setting up of the mini-lab. Efforts are on to set up all five mini-labs by October, as the number of cases is increasing each year. We have received ₹29 lakh for the PWD department to start the work at Solapur.”

Kulkarni said that setting up mini-labs is an ambitious project and Maharashtra is way ahead of other states in providing more forensic labs and mini-labs which will provide strong evidence in crime cases, helping better the poor conviction rate.

First Published: Jul 01, 2019 00:12 IST

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