Kalina forensic lab’s plan to get hightech DNA machine stalled
MUMBAI: The Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory’s (DFSL) plan to get a state-of-theart DNA testing machine, which would have reduced the time taken for the test from 48 hours to three hours, has been delayed because of a public interest litigation (PIL). The PIL challenges the necessity of the equipment.
Last year, the laboratory had proposed to buy a ₹3-crore Rapid DNA Analysis System to speed up criminal investigations. Dr Krishna Kulkarni, director, Kalina DFSL, said they are hopeful they will be able to procure it. “The PIL is against the necessity of our procurement and it’s been accepted. The machine can reduce the time taken for DNA testing from anywhere between 48 hours and eight days to three hours. Meanwhile, a more advanced model of the technology is being introduced by the manufacturers. We will wait for the result,” said Kulkarni. He added that some forensic experts are against investing in the high tech system. “Some experts claim the machine is not as accurate as the traditional DNA profiling.”
The machine, which is fully automated, can also store over 1 million DNA profiles to minimise the paperwork and ensure the samples can be cross-checked .
DNA testing technology is available at five forensic laboratories run by the state in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad. The laboratories receive more than 4,000 cases of DNA testing every year, half of which are forwarded to the next year. Every test costs around ₹10,000. “Thednatestingdepartment gets 30 to 35 cases of unidentified bodies every month. The identification is only possible after cross-examination of the DNA of the bodies with that of the family members. We also get cases of infidelity and serious offences where DNA examination is essential,” said a forensic expert.