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Rohini Forensic Science Lab plans expansion, tech update to keep up with rising cases

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) The Forensic Science Laboratory in Delhi’s Rohini plans to set up mobile forensic crime scene units in all police districts of the national capital and increase the number of hi-tech labs as the facility gears up to deal with 85,000 cases it expects to receive in five years.

According to an official, the FSL is also looking to bolster its workforce in tune with its expansion plans.

There have been complaints of delay in submission of results even though the laboratory, as of July 2021, has issued over 1,60,000 reports in different crime cases since its establishment in 1995.

Initially set up in Malviya Nagar, the laboratory was shifted to the current Rohini campus in 2004.

With the rapid increase in the volume of evidence requiring scientific examination, a need to expand the forensic facilities have been felt, officials said, adding the existing laboratories are already overburdened.

They said several laboratories such as chemical and toxicology, cyber and physiological labs will be expanded and have high-tech infrastructure.

Head of the Department of the Crime Scene, Sanjeev Gupta said as part of the expansion, “we are planning to set up mobile forensic crime scene units in all the 15 district units of Delhi Police.

“Currently, we have it in six ranges of the Delhi Police. The expansion will help us in promptly reaching a crime scene thus minimising the chances of evidence getting destroyed also increase the speed at which samples can be sent for examinations so that reports can be submitted on time,” he said.  Officials said the laboratory will tackle cases of sexual assault in its multiple labs and use mitochondrial DNA technique for the identification of deteriorating corpses.

In 2020, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain had laid the foundation stone for an annexe building of FSL. Officials said the project got delayed due to the Covid pandemic, but is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

According to a senior official, the FSL in Rohini receives cases from the Delhi Police, several high courts, various departments of the Delhi and the Central government offices as well as probe agencies, including the CBI and the NIA.

Analysis of data between 2016 and 2020 showed that 65,500 cases were received at FSL for examination and over 2,500 crime scenes were visited.

Going by the trend, it is expected that between 2021 and 2025, about 85,000 cases will be received at the FSL and over 4,000 crime scenes would be required to be visited.

“There has been a rapid increase in the number of cases. If in 2020, we had around 12,000 cases, in 2021 it increased to 13,000 and it keeps surge with each passing year,” the senior official said.

Director of FSL Deepa Verma said the laboratory is making advancements in its infrastructure by setting up multiple labs to pace-up forensic examination.

The staff hiring process has also begun, Verma said.  “We are specifically focusing on strengthening and multiplying the existing operational labs. As we strengthen each division, technologies are also being updated,” she said.  “Soon, we will focus on mitochondrial DNA technique that helps in identifying deteriorating samples in cases where the lineage of father is not available. Mitochondria is transmitted only by females,” Verma said.

About the pending cases, another senior official said the existing labs are already overburdened.  “All the labs handle multiple types of cases. Cases keep piling up because there is a gap between incoming cases and resources available… In many divisions, such as photo, crime scene and vehicle examination, we respond immediately and reports are issued much sooner,” the officer said.

Cases of sensitive nature and matters related to sexual assault of children are prioritised and there is a dedicated team for it, officials said. PTI AMP NSD NSD

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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