Five years after its inception, the State Police’s DNA Centre has started to function independently. Until now, much of the centre’s work had been outsourced to a private organisation. Last fortnight, the State Government stopped the outsourcing arrangement. The Government has posted and empowered a deputy director to head the centre and undertake all activities on its own.
The state-of-the art centre, set up in June 2004, was to help the police zero in on suspects in criminal cases, identify bodies and also resolve paternity disputes. An agreement was entered between the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and the Centre for Human Genetics (CHG) headed by Indian Institute of Science’s Emeritus Professor H.G. Sharat Chandra.
Apart from assisting the FSL officers in forensic samples, the CHG was asked to build technical infrastructure for the DNA Centre and also train FSL officers in DNA fingerprinting. The State Government started paying Rs. 10 lakh as consultation charges, which was recently increased to Rs. 25 lakh.
According to a Government notification issued on September 17, the centre will now be headed by Deputy Director of FSL T.R. Kumari.
The DNA Centre recently faced criticism for delaying reports on cases referred to it by the police. This had forced the police to turn to the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnosis in Hyderabad.
The Hindu had, in March this year, reported that the DNA Centre in Bangalore had not been able to submit any reports between November 2007 and March 24, 2009 in 52 cases that were referred to it.
On March 25, the centre said that it had submitted reports relating to 10 of these cases. Among the cases pending with the DNA Centre included the much-publicised missing complaint from the mother of a nine-year-old boy who went missing in April 2008 from Shanivarasante in Kodagu. This complaint exposed the working of the DNA Centre and the causes for the delay in filing reports.
Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh said the Centre will function independently of the CHG. The centre will be under the administrative control of the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police.
“We have stopped outsourcing arrangement with the CHG. We are starting with the officers who have been trained by the CHG. An officer has been authorised to sign the findings of cases referred to it,” Mr. Ajai Kumar Singh told The Hindu. The centre will start with nine members.