Absence of forensic science laboratory hampers investigations, convictions


Even though the building to house the multi-faceted forensic science laboratory was built at a cost of ` 2 crore at Verna and was inaugurated by the then home minister, Mr Ravi Naik on February 21, 2008, the state-of-the-art laboratory is yet to begin functioning.
The building is lying idle for over last five years except for the Fingerprint Bureau, that was shifted here from Porvorim. This has led to delay and faulty detection in some criminal cases of serious nature, as the police have to rely on laboratories that are out of the state.
Forensic examinations are very important to determine the crime of the culprit, especially, in serious criminal cases, that hinge on circumstantial evidence.
Sometimes vital evidence gets destroyed by the time it reaches the forensic experts in other states. As in most cases, human body samples, including viscera are sent to forensic science laboratories at Hyderabad or Surat, and till the reports are sent back, the investigations are hampered and cases
are backlogged.
The preliminary crime scene investigation is the most important phase of the investigation. Failure of many courts in ensuring admissibility of testimonial evidence has significantly increased the value of physical evidence in homicide investigations. Therefore, law enforcement personnel must arrange for proper and effective collection of evidence from the crime scene.
The forensic science laboratory can effectively examine physical evidence and play a vital role in detecting the crimes thereby leading to the nabbing of criminals and even convicting those involved in crimes.
The state-of-the-art laboratory at Verna is not operational yet apparently due to lack of funds. Now the state can only hope that the Union government under its 11th Plan, fund the laboratory and help Goa in detecting crimes which are reported in the state.
The Chief Secretary of the state is the administrative head of this laboratory and the central government is the funding agency for the multi-faceted project.
According to highly-placed sources, the Supreme Court has directed the states to set up full-fledged forensic science laboratories in order to hasten the judicial processes related to the grievous crimes such as murders, narcotic cases, rapes, etc.
“The viscera can expose many things related to crimes and criminals involved in grievous offences and the fact findings from the viscera reports upon examining or testing in the laboratories can help the courts in awarding punishments,” stated a highly-placed source. The source also claimed that a forensic science laboratory can help the police in framing necessary charges and in early detection of crimes.
It was disclosed that the central government had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Goa government to have a full-fledged forensic science laboratory in the year 2011, however, the laboratory has not been made operational due to lack of required machinery and staff owing to lack of funds.
One of the most important equipment needed at a forensic laboratory is the Automated Finger Print System (AFPS). An order for the same has been placed but till date, it has not been installed at the Verna-based laboratory.
It was also informed that the laboratory was funded and constructed under the Modernisation Scheme of Union government and that it had framed and sanctioned recruitment rules in order to absorb staff but till date no recruitment has been done.
The laboratory has three important sections – the toxicology section which has the most-important analysing unit involving chemistry division wherein it gives a detailed report of toxic material collected from the dead bodies. It can even handle the narcotic/drug cases. The second section is cytology section which helps in investigating the collected samples of blood from the scene of the offence. It is more helpful in investigating rape cases. The third important section is the physics division. [NT]