Kalina foren­sic lab’s plan to get high­tech DNA ma­chine stalled

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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