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Sample that: Delhi Police struggles for a new forensic lab

India on 03 April 2014
Location : Delhi | Source : Hindustan Times. Image Source: Flickr User Jca Servo

Officials associated with the project admitted to have settled for government-owned buildings that could be rented out to them: Even a banquet hall or a community centre would do.

“The number of cases that require forensic analysis of evidence is piling and we can’t do anything about it despite the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) having sanctioned a new facility for an additional lab in October last year,” complained a senior police officer.

Police sources said 10,000 cases were currently awaiting forensic analysis at various labs. Of these, 9,500 are pending at the Rohini Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) with the remaining stuck at FSLs located in different states.

So when a meeting to discuss the issue was held between all the stakeholders involved in the project on Wednesday, the Delhi Police admitted that they were willing to settle for any government building provided it was located near a district court.

“Cour ts sometimes ask investigating officers not only for forensic reports, but also to produce forensic evidence,” said an officer. “Some of these materials are biological in nature and stand a chance of going bad while being transported.”

On October 15, 2013, the Delhi government had given in-principle approval to the setting up of a new FSL - the second of its kind in the Capital - and directed the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to allot land for it.

The DDA, police sources said, had initially promised to allot land for the facility at south Delhi’s Mehrauli. Later, however, the DDA allegedly retracted and came up with a suggestion that the facility be set up at farflung locations such as Bawana or Najafgarh. “The need of the hour is a facility; we can handle paperwork and inaugurations later,” another officer added.

On August 15, HT had reported how thousands of cases were stuck at various stages of litigation because of inadequate testing facilities. Two months later, the MHA had sanctioned land for the facility, however, this had been only on paper.

A proposal for the establishment of at least three forensic labs - one functioning within the jurisdiction of each range of the Delhi Police - has been pending with the Delhi Government since before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, said senior police officers.

According to senior crime branch officials, as many as 500 new cases requiring forensic analysis are added to the inventory of pending cases at the Rohini FSL every 30 days, leaving them with no option than seeking the services of FSLs located in other cities such as Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

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