The new building at Hotwar in Ranchi, which will house the forensic lab in future. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, June 2: We said dont ask, but the state government answered. Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) will be restored to its original glory, promised the home secretary, so that DNA profiling and other tests can resume and criminals in over 1,200 pending cases can be finally brought to justice.
In response to a report published in The Telegraph on May 31, J.B. Tubid assured police and countless victims of crime, that the state would ensure adequate funds and manpower are made available so the laboratory can start conducting tests on the 6,000 samples lying with it.
We are concerned about the state of the Forensic Science Laboratory. We are providing for more than Rs 3 lakh and I think it will help the lab tide over the immediate crisis. We are also going to appoint staff for which a meeting of the state empowered committee will be held in a month, the home secretary said, referring to the issues highlighted in the report.
Titled, DNA: Do Not Ask Why… state forensic lab cant help solve crimes, the report revealed that dearth of an expensive chemical, Proteinase K, had stalled DNA profiling in 10 cases, including the April 27 college campus murder of Khushboo and the abduction of Deoghar industrialist Nand Kishore Singhania.
One vial of the chemical costs Rs 40,000 and can be used for around 10 isolations for DNA testing, but the lab has none due to shortage of funds. FSL sources said that the home department allocated Rs 4.5 lakh annually which wasnt enough to handle the large number of samples coming in regularly from across the state.
Tubid dismissed fears that the state was ignoring FSL, saying that it would soon move from its present location at Birsa Munda Central Jail to a new, better designed facility at Hotwar.
We have never neglected FSL. In fact, our FSL is one of the best laboratories in the country and is equipped with all modern equipment. There is no question of a funds crunch since we have a budgetary allocation of Rs 1,200 crore under non-Plan head for the entire police establishment, Tubid said.
On electricity dues, the home secretary said he had issued necessary instructions for immediate payment and had also asked the laboratory to buy generator sets for uninterrupted power supply.
We are serious about FSL. Whatever shortcomings you see are because the lab works out of a temporary set-up. As soon as we shift, things will change, he promised.
Inaugurated on November 15, 2008, by former chief minister Shibu Soren, FSL boasts a number of sections, including forensic ballistic, biology, serology, explosives, physics, toxicology and general chemistry. Apart from these, there is a strong room, a confidential unit and a barrack for security personnel.
FSL is equipped with a number of sophisticated gadgets, including bullet comparison microscope used for ballistic tests, biological science research microscope used to identify various types of microbes and organisms and gas chromotograph used for chemical analysis.
This apart, it also has provisions to collect different types of samples, fingerprints and narcotics kits to identify various drugs, all of which are staple for laboratories of such sophistication.