Forensic visits to crime scenes headed to record high
Officials attributed the rise to a direction by home minister Amit Shah that forensic investigation is mandatory in all crimes which entail punishment of more than 6 years
Visits to the crime scenes by forensic experts are at an all-time high in Delhi with 954 assessments already done this year so far, compared to 858 throughout last year, shows official data.
Officials aware of the matter attributed the rise to a direction by Union home minister Amit Shah in August last year that forensic investigation is mandatory in all crimes which entail punishment of more than 6 years. Following Shah’s direction, the Delhi Police issued an order in this regard.
To be sure, the number of forensic visits has registered a consistent increase in the past five years since 2019 year-on-year, the data shows.
From 482 in 2019 to 563 in 2020, and 686 in 2021 to 858 in 2022, the data shows an increasing trend. With the number of visits having already crossed the last year’s mark, the officials anticipate a new record.
Deepa Verma, Director, Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), said the forensic investigation proves critical to the investigation, and help police to prepare watertight cases against suspects. “If the collection of exhibit is efficient and timely, the scientific examination will be more accurate and worthy of presenting in court. It will be more reliable and result oriented,” she said.
“The main hurdle in investigation is the putrefaction and contamination of the biological sample, removal and loss of physical pieces of evidence from the crime scene. Due to public movement on the crime scene, it is likely that potential evidence is either misplaced or moved. To avoid any such alteration, the forensic team provides necessary expertise in identifying the evidence at the scene of crime,” she added.
One line on was there a criteria for a forensic visit in a case before Shah’s direction last year?
FSL Assistant Director Anurag Sharma said that the forensic team guides the Investigating Officers (IO) on tackling the evidence. “The sample is collected and handed over to the Investigating Officer with the specific guidance on how to preserve and submit the exhibit in FSL for examination,” he added.
A senior police officer said that to be able to secure a conviction in a case, the court has to be presented with clinching evidence. “For instance, in the Shahbad Dairy murder case in which a 16-year-old woman was stabbed multiple times by a 23-year-old man, a skin patch was recovered from the girl’s nails by the forensic team that later matched with a sample of the accused’s skin. Such kinds of evidence helps police get conviction,” the officer said.
To be able to tackle the increasing number of crime scene visits, FSL has issued a tender to procure three mobile forensic labs. Currently, the FSL has two mobile labs, a FSL official aware of the matter said.
The two vehicles visit about four-five spots a day and were procured about six years ago, the official said
Following Shah’s direction, the Delhi Police inducted five mobile forensic vans (MFVs) in February this year which were designed by the National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU) at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The agency has recently sent a proposal to the home ministry to allot another 15 smaller vehicles to be deployed in each of the 15 police districts, a senior police officer said.
These forensic vans are equipped with several kits such as blood and semen detection, instruments to check for gunpowder residue and narcotics.