| File picture of the recovered bones |
Guwahati, Sept. 11: Non-availability of a chemical in the Forensic Science Laboratory at Kahilipara has delayed the DNA test on a skeleton believed to be of student leader Arup Kalita who was allegedly killed by timber smugglers last year.
Samples of the skeletal remains, which were recovered from a pond at Kukurmara in Kamrup district about 50km from here in the first week of August, were sent to the forensic laboratory by the police to confirm the identity.
Kalita’s family had identified him from the clothes and mobile phone recovered from the pond along with the skeletal remains but police still sent the bones for DNA tests for confirmation.
Kalita, a leader of the All Assam Non-Tribal Students’ Union, has been untraceable since August 25 last year when he went to the forest depot at Kukurmara under West Kamrup forest division to provide information about timber smuggling. He was allegedly murdered by timber smugglers with the help of unscrupulous forest officials. Although the police failed to trace him, they had to step up their probe after Kalita’s mother moved Gauhati High Court, which criticised the tardy pace of investigations.
The police finally fished out the skeletal remains from the pond on August 2 and arrested four persons, including forest department employees and sand miners, allegedly involved in the murder.
Three others, whose names were mentioned in the FIR lodged by Kalita’s mother, surrendered at Chaygaon police station.
“The family has identified the skeletal remains and we have recorded the details in the fresh status report we submitted to the high court. But we are waiting for the DNA test report for official confirmation,” a police official in Kamrup district told The Telegraph.
Non-availability of the crucial chemical, however, has delayed the probe. “We have received the bone samples and have already extracted the DNA exhibits for chemical analysis but we are running short of a chemical, performance optimised polymer (POP-4). As a result, the DNA analysis is getting delayed,” a source in the laboratory said.
The sources said they had applied for the chemical from the California-based Applied Bio-system and were waiting for the consignment to reach.
Pop 4 is a performance optimised polymer used in short tandem repeats analysis of DNA tests. Short tandem repeats is one of the various DNA test methodologies available to confirm a biological relationship.
“Normally, we require a week’s time to test the DNA from blood samples and it takes two weeks to a month if we have to conduct tests on bone samples. We are taking some more time in the Arup Kalita case because of the delay in delivery of the chemicals from the California-based firm. As soon as the chemical reaches us, we will carry out the tests and submit the report to the police,” the source said.