Poor evidence collection techniques are proving to be a drag on the Mumbai terror attack investigation, claim forensic experts. The most glaring example is the missing bulletproof vest of Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare, killed during the attack.

The experts said there was a need to ensure that officers from the forensic department quickly reach the crime spot for proper gathering and preservation of evidence.

"Investigating officers must inform forensic scientists immediately about the crime so that they can work

together from ground zero," said N S Rao, former chief of Directorate of Forensic Science, Ministry of Home Affairs. The investigating officer usually directs his subordinates to collect evidences from the crime scene and consequently, the job is not properly done, due to their lack of knowledge on the subject, he said.

Former Director of the Kalina Forensic Science Lab Rukmini Krishnamurthy said, “forensic scientists are well

trained to retrieve evidence from the crime scene and can employ proper methods of recognition, identification, collection and preservation.”

About Karkare’s missing bulletproof jacket, Krishnamurthy said, “It is very important to preserve the chain of evidence and ensure security of all the evidences, which would help in tracing missing links. But this is not being followed by any agency in our country.”

Krishnamurthy said criminals use the latest technology and hence it is difficult to retrieve physical evidence from the crime spot without adequately trained personnel.

“The forensic lab in Gujarat has adopted a procedure wherein the crime scene is connected to the lab via video or audio link so that real time pictures can be analysed. This procedure sees to it that there is no crowding at the scene,” she said, adding Maharashtra should adopt this method.

The Union Home Ministry has approved Rs 100 crore to create six new regional forensic laboratories and 52 mobile labs for states. These facilities would be provided based on the states’ requirement as well as an assessment by the Ministry, said Vibha Rane, chief of Directorate of Forensic Science under the Ministry.

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