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72,000 cases pending as FSL struggles with staff crunch

At least 72,000 cases are pending with the six units of the directorate of forensic science laboratories (FSL),which has its headquarters in Kalina.

Written by Express News Service | Published: April 8, 2013 3:34:28 am

At least 72,000 cases are pending with the six units of the directorate of forensic science laboratories (FSL),which has its headquarters in Kalina.

While police complain of investigations being stalled due to delay in forensic reports,FSL is optimistic of clearing the pendency by recruiting additional technical staff on contract.

FLS officials claimed the backlog would be cleared in three months,as the state government has okayed recruitment of almost 400 technical staff.

“We have around 72,000 cases pending. This is mainly because of the large number of posts that were vacant till a year ago. In 2012,190 posts were filled but there are still 36 officer posts vacant,” said director M K Malve.

“We are confident of clearing the pending cases in the next three months. The state government has cleared recruitment of 400 class 2 and class 3 staff such as assistant chemical analysers and scientific assistants. They will be recruited on a one-year contract. We have also acquired fresh stock of chemicals,particularly for DNA-testing,” he said.

Officials said FSL received 1.12 lakh cases each year and filed reports in around 92,000.

Its toxicology department receives the highest number of cases,while its physics department gets the lowest.

Mumbai Police officers have grumbled about delays in getting crucial reports.

For instance,Mumbai Police had to wait for over four months to receive report of a voice spectrogram test conducted on Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal,an accused in the 26/11 terror attack case.

Mumbai Police Crime Branch sent two reminders to FSL.

Similarly,during the probe into the 13/7 serial blasts,the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad waited for months before tests were conducted on crucial evidence collected from Habib Apartment in Byculla (West),where two bombers allegedly stayed before and after the attack. ATS had sent toothbrushes,towels,hair sample,computer discs and clothes to FSL for DNA tests.

Asked about the delays in filing reports in important cases,Malve said,“A minimum analysis time is required for every test. If we are told a case is urgent,we treat it on priority.”

FSL’s priority for the next few months is rape and sexual assault reports. In February,the state home department directed it to clear the backlog.

“Around 3,500 cases of this nature are pending. These will be cleared in a couple of months,” Malve said.

The bio-serology department of FSL,Kalina,has around 400 DNA and 250 biological-serological tests pending. The pendency is higher in the FSL units in Nagpur,Pune,Amravati,Aurangabad and Nashik.

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