FSL says its overburdened,mostly with pointless tasks
Stop this stupidity,pleads desperate Kalina forensic lab
In a case where a man got electrocuted,FSL got his viscera samples.Viscera tests are used to detect poison
In rape cases,vaginal swabs need to be taken within 72 hours.FSL routinely gets swabs taken over three months later
In one case,instead of clothes the victim was wearing when she was assaulted,FSL received five sets of saris she owned
Oct 1, Mumbai Mirror Lata Mishra and Yogesh Sadhwani [email protected]
Experts from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Kalina allege that a lack of understanding of forensics,and mindless application of rules,is hampering the pace of crime investigations in Mumbai.
They alleged that policemen and doctors who conduct post-mortems often send unnecessary samples for testing,which ends up delaying investigations.
This became a heated topic of discussion at a medical conference at Sion hospital on Sunday,where experts from FSL levelled charges against policemen and doctors.
Doctors vehemently refuted the allegations,and organisers had to step in to calm tempers.
Assistant director of FSL,Dr Vijay Thakre,said,There are several instances in which the viscera of a victim has been sent to us,despite it being case of burns,electrocution,hanging or snake bite.If the police and medical examiner conducting the post-mortem is aware of the cause of death,why take a viscera sample and send it to us for examination when it is not required Because of such unnecessary work,several other cases suffer.”
Other experts pointed to several similar cases where samples are thoughtlessly sent for tests that aren’t required or even applicable.One of the many cases pointed out was of a pregnant woman alleging rape.
The woman,who was one month pregnant,complained that she had been raped.She came to us a month after the alleged offence,but the medical examiner still sent us a vaginal swab for testing.It is well known that sperm die within 72 hours.In such a case there is no point in taking vaginal or other swabs, said another expert.
In several cases of rape or sexual assault,cops and medical examiners have sent mulptiple items of the victim’s clothing to FSL for DNA sampling.”Only the clothes that the person was wearing at the time of offence need to be examined.But in most cases we are sent five to six sarees and other garments,”said an expert.And in murder cases where a weapon was used,police do not think twice before sending bloood samples of all the accused arrested in the case.
FSL experts pointed out during the debate at Sion hospital that such “stupid” sampling leads to lengthy delays in their work.Such samples only keep us busy for no reason for days.The end result is that a lot of cases get delayed and it takes months for us to deliver reports, the expert added.Over 30,000 samples are still pending.
Dr MK Mavle,medical director of FSL,said that there is tremendous load on FSL at any point of time.If the doctor uses his discretion while sending samples,it will it reduce the work load at FSL and help us deliver results faster, he said.
A whole lot of experts from FSl pointed out taht due to such random samples,genuine cases suffer a lot.They pointed out samples sent for two important cases Cuffe Parade serial murders (1,100 samples) and Kurla Nehru Nagar rape and murder cases (1,300 samples),which ended up keeping them busy for days.
Nisar Tamboli,a spokeperson for the Mumbai police,said,”Yes it’s true that FSL has a tremendous load,but our job is to investigate the matter from all points of view.For the Kurla and Cuffe Parade cases we sent thousands of blood samples as we can only interrogate a suspect if his report comes back positive.”
Some doctors agree that samples are often sent without reason.This is very common at peripheral and rural hospitals.Doctors conducting post-mortems need to be trained in these aspects, said Dr Dr Shailesh Mohite,head of the forensics department at Nair Hospital.He added that apart from using their discretion,doctors should try and get samples tested within their hospitals first.Blood samples and swabs can be tested in-house.They need not be sent to FSL, he said.
Dr Rajesh Dere,a professor at Sion hospital and organiser of the conference,said that doctors often draw samples for fear that they may get pulled up later on.Take the case of Versova deaths (Rameez and Rehab),in which the expert did not feel the need to draw viscera samples.Later,when the investigation reveald foul play,he was pulled up.It is because of such cases that forensic doctors prefer to send all possible samples insead of using their discretion.”
- Fiza death: body bears no external injury marks (ibnlive.in.com)
- The tools before a forensic medicine doctor (thehindu.com)
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