Kin of Dr Death victims dig for pics to identify deceased
Forensic team asks relatives to try and find clear, close- up photographs
Vivid memories and accurate physical descriptions of ‘ Dr Death’ Santosh Pol’s victims from their relatives are not good enough, forensic officials have said. What the investigating team really wants is clear photographs of the deceased.
“We have been asked to submit as many photos as we can of my mother, but we have only passport- sized ones. We are searching for her wedding photographs now,” said Suraj Chikne ( 25), one of the three children of Surekha. He was only 10 when she was killed.
Working in Mumbai as a technician, he took a leave to visit Wai in Satara district after the police exhumed his mother’s body a few days back.
She was murdered and buried in the front yard of Pol’s house in Dhom village in 2003. His father remarried after Surekha went missing.
“In those days, we didn’t have camera phones, we hardly clicked photos. Even finding her wedding pictures is going to be difficult,” said Nanda Wadkar, Surekha’s sister.
Vanita Gaikwad’s family too is facing the same problem. Her body was exhumed on Friday from Pol’s house after he confessed to murdering her and burying her in the same place in 2006.
“We have passport- sized photos of her. The police have asked us for clear close- up pictures and full- length photos where her teeth are visible. It will be a tough task,” said Anil Kat e, Gaikwad’s nephew.
Gaikwad’s husband died within a year of her going missing. Her two daughters left the village and were brought up by relatives in Pune. The two will be coming to Wai on Sunday to give their samples for DNA matching and identification. “Both Archana, who is married, and Suvarna, a nurse, have been inconsolable since finding out about their mother’s death,” added Kate.
The Wai police said the problem of lack of good photographs is there only in Chikne and Gaikwad’s cases.
Skull- photo superimposition- based identification is one of the two methods that will be used by the forensic team for establishing the identity of the skeletal re- mains. DNA matching will be another method for which blood samples of the victims’ siblings, parents and children will be sent to the lab for testing.
The families of Pol’s victims are waiting for the police to hand over their loved ones’ remains so that they can conduct their last rites. However, this will take time as, senior inspector Vinayak Vetal explained, the remains can’t be handed over until all investigations are complete.
The forensic team, under the guidance of Dr Harisk Pathak, head of the forensic department at KEM hospital, is at the site and helping the police in the investigation. According to sources, all six bodies will be sent to KEM hospital for forensic investigation.
Pol was arrested for allegedly murdering at least six people between 2003 and 2016. The murders were committed for looting the victims, or to eliminate those who could spill the beans on his previous crimes, said the police.
Hemant Padalkar/ dna
( From top) Relatives of victim Surekha Chikne with the forensic team; Dr Santosh Pol’s ambulance that was found in Mahim on Saturday