IN THE Sheena Bora murder trial, defence lawyer for Peter Mukerjea on Thursday claimed that the expert, relied on by the CBI to prove that the photograph of the skull found in Raigad matched that of Bora’s photographs, had morphed the photos. The expert, an MD, academician and retired professor of Benaras Hindu University, Dr Sunil Kumar Tripathi, who has been in the witness dock since last week, denied the claim.
Tripathi had said during his deposition that he used a software named FantaMorph to compare and analyse four photographs of Bora, chosen by him from the hundreds provided to him by the CBI, with photos of the skull, allegedly of 24-year-old Bora, who was killed in 2012.
Mukerjea’s lawyers, Shrikant Shivade and Viral Babar, on Thursday highlighted the yellow and red dots on the photographs on the software and claimed those were ‘morph tracks’. They said the morph tracks showed that the end result was tampered with.
“This entire exercise of using the software was designed by you and the CBI officers to meet your requirement and the tampering is caught on the morph track,” Shivade said during the cross-examination of Tripathi. The witness, however, said he had never before seen the yellow and red dots shown to him on Thursday.
During the cross-examination, which went on for over two hours, Shivade questioned Tripathi on his choice of the four photographs of Bora.
In one of the photographs analysed by Tripathi, the defence claimed there was a shadow falling on Bora’s right side. In another photo, Bora was seen wearing sunglasses and a fringe on her forehead.
“In this photograph, the person is wearing dark glasses and has hair on the forehead, the eyebrows are also not visible and 50 per cent of the face is covered,” Shivade told the witness, questioning how the comparison could have been done with the skull in the absence of visible facial lines, necessary for the analysis.
The witness said only ‘35 per cent’ of the face was covered.
Shivade also claimed that Tripathi had cropped the photograph of the skull and placed it in such a position that it matched the angle of Bora’s photographs. “I have chosen the same angle of the skull while choosing the same angle as in a photograph of source image (Bora’s photo),” the witness told the court, adding that it was the ‘need of the software’.
Shivade also said the skull did not have any label as seen in the photograph, therefore, it was not possible to identify it to be the same one relied on as evidence by the CBI. The witness agreed there was no visible label on the skull for identification.
Calling the software ‘stupid’, Shivade claimed that the expert could have even matched the photograph of the skull with that of a cat, walking around the courtroom at the time of the hearing.
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