MUMBAI ~ Fed up with delays in getting test results from the state-run Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Kalina, Santa Cruz, anxious policemen have taken to filing applications under the Right To Information Act (RTI) asking for the status of their pending cases. Since a number of high priority cases have broken the queue and are being dealt with on an urgent basis, a host of other cases are being kept on the backburner. As a result, there are delays in getting evidence against the accused. The results are crucial in the filing of chargesheets, which has to be done within 90 days of the accused being arrested.
According to officials connected with the FSL, the facility has been flooded with RTI applications from policemen. “We have been receiving almost one RTI request every two days. They want to know reasons for the delay,” the official says, requesting anonymity. Policemen usually file RTI applications in the name of their relations in order to avoid being identified.
The facility is also unable to process the cases as it is crippled by a lack of manpower. For example, cases like the Colaba rapes, where three girls between two and three years were found abused and murdered, and the Karan Kakkar murder case, are on the high priority list. But the FSL has been unable to process the results due to a lack of chemicals, officials say.
In the Colaba case, the Cuffe Parade and Colaba police stations had made five arrests and sent almost 1,000 DNA samples to the FSL, seeking early results. But they got the results of only 225 samples. The FSL wrote to both police stations saying they were unable to process the remaining samples for various reasons. “This case is crucial and we need the results quickly as it will help nail the accused,” says a policeman from the Colaba police station. “The safety of children in the area is at risk. Our investigations are getting hampered [due to these delays].”
The FSL refused to answer queries about alleged delays in forensic reports, directing this correspondent to speak to the home ministry.▪