| The forensic science laboratory in Patna. Telegraph picture |
Cracking unnatural deaths have become a tad easier for the police with the appointment of scientific officers and technical assistants. About 2,000 cases of viscera pending for test at the state forensic science laboratory (FSL) in Patna for long have been disposed of in the past three months.
Sources in the state police headquarters said total 51 people, including scientific officers and technical assistants, had been appointed at the forensic science laboratory (FSL) in Patna since April. Eighteen of them are senior scientists, assigned to monitor the tests.
FSL director Umesh Kumar Sinha said: “The number of pending cases has reduced drastically after the appointment of the scientific officers and technical assistants in the recent past. Since April this year, about 2,000 samples of viscera have been examined and the reports sent to the district police officials concerned and respective courts.”
He said the remaining reports would be sent in the next two months. “Our objective is to examine the samples at the earliest and send the reports on time so that the trial is not affected because of non-submission of forensic reports,” Sinha said, adding that two additional FSL centres in Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur were also being strengthened.
Sinha said six scientific officers were appointed through Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) on a regular basis after 19 years. “All the scientific officers and technical assistants, except the six appointed through BPSC, have been appointed on contract. Their performance will be assessed,” he said.
Till April this year, about 2,300 samples of viscera were pending for test at the state FSL. On an average 80-85 samples of viscera are sent to the state FSL every month from different police stations of the state.
As the FSL was facing acute shortage of manpower earlier, most of the unnatural death cases remained unsolved. Moreover, the investigating officers had to wait for months together for the reports of the FSL. At times they had to face the wrath of the judicial officers for inordinate delay in submitting the findings of the forensic experts.
But of late, the situation has started changing. The toxicology department has been strengthened. So has been the fingerprints section. In the handwriting section, five personnel have been appointed through the BPSC. Nine personnel have been posted in the ballistic section. Sources said the DNA section would be operational in the next two to three months.
At present, 40 posts of scientific officers and technical assistants are vacant in different sections.