Finding Pradhyumn’s killer: A test of CBI’s forensic skills
New Delhi: The CBI has been entrusted with the probe into the murder of seven-year-old Pradhyumn Thakur at Ryan International School (Bhondsi) in Gurgaon, again putting to test the agency’s skills in investigating heinous crimes.
The CBI’s prowess in forensic evidence analysis will be bolstered by having at its disposal experts from Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and doctors from AIIMS who will help it draw out the sequence of events leading to the death of Pradhyumn, the weapon used for his murder, and the exact time of the crime. In its attempt to find out whether it was actually the school bus conductor Ashok Kumar — arrested as the main suspect by Gurgaon police — who killed the boy with a kitchen knife after trying to sexually assault him, the CBI can use scientific tests like liedetection, narco-analysis and psycho-analysis tests on the suspect.
Known for re-creating a crime scene scientifically and methodically, the CBI is also capable of finding loopholes in the police investigation, discrepancies in statements and cover-ups, if any, by the school administration through these tests, apart from questioning the staff, teachers and management.
All of this is likely to come into play in Pradhyumn’s murder probe as well, but after the central government issues a notification for a formal CBI probe. The federal probe agency has extensively used these tools in the last 10 years and managed to unearth information in the murder case of Aarushi Talwar — daughter of dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur in Noida; the killing of Sheena Bora, allegedly by her mother Indrani Muk- herjea in Mumbai, the sensational murder of Bhanwari Devi in Rajasthan; suicides of two sisters in Badaun, and many other politically sensitive cases.
In fact, in the murder of Bhanwari Devi in 2011, in which former Rajasthan MLA Mahipal Maderna was arrested, CBI had used drones to trace her remains inside a thick forest and even used FBI’s forensic experts for DNA matching.
Even though some of its investigations have faced criticism at times, CBI experts claim that its evidence collection goes through several steps of scrutiny. In such cases, where it is brought to rectify a botched-up investigation, CBI usually forms a small special team, which dedicates its efforts to one particular case and sleuths are given different roles. A CBI officer, who has worked in special crimes division in the agency for years, said, “We don’t go for arrests until we are satisfied all evidence points to that person’s role.”
Another officer said that while CBI is already an expert in investigating political corruption, financial irregularities and cybercrimes over the decades, it is slowly attaining expertise in solving complex murder cases as well. The agency manages to secure conviction in around 66% cases every year, both anti-corruption and heinous crimes.