The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Exhume cry gets louder
- Second post-mortem will be more thorough, in camera

Legal experts said on Friday that the mystery death of Rizwanur Rahman is a fit case for exhumation, a demand raised by his family following the “inconclusive” post-mortem report.

Exhumation is the lawful digging up of an already-buried body, followed by a thorough post-mortem examination.

“Since the findings of the post-mortem appear to be inconclusive, it would probably make sense for the judicial commission to go in for an exhumation and ask for a second post-mortem report. The post- mortem should be carried out in the presence of forensic experts and the entire procedure recorded,” said Justice D.K. Basu, the chairman of National Committee for Legal Aid Services India.

Experts in forensic science said the second post-mortem is far more detailed. “The fact that a second post-mortem is only carried out in a special case and every step is captured in camera ensures that the doctor takes note of every injury and carries out a detailed examination,” said a veteran forensic expert.

“The only drawback is that putrefaction sets in and the marks no more remain fresh,” he added.

Exhumation can only be carried out following a court directive on an appeal from the investigating officer of the agency probing the case.

The process is carried out in the presence of a magistrate, a doctor and the investigating officer, along with the grave-diggers.

“Once the body is dug out, it is examined on the spot by the magistrate and the doctor, in the presence of witnesses, and the entire process is video-recorded. The body is then sent for a post-mortem examination, which is also video-taped,” said a senior police officer.

The magistrate takes note of every step being followed and prepares a detailed report to be submitted in court.

Rukbanur Rahman, Rizwanur’s elder brother, reiterated on Friday that the family had no faith in the administration and that the post-mortem report could have been doctored.

“We want the CBI to investigate the case and the body to be exhumed. A fresh post-mortem should be conducted to ascertain the cause of his death. We are sure my brother was murdered,” he stressed.

“Only if my brother’s body is exhumed can we get to the truth and the guilty can be punished,” he concluded.

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