Bite mark test at Dharwad college nailed gang-rape accused
Delhi court relied on report from top lab at SDM dental college
The Special Investigating Team (SIT) may have toiled day and night to find evidences while investigating the Delhi gang-rape case, but it is the SDM Dental College at Sattur near Dharwad, which assisted the SIT in conclusively establishing the culprits’ involvement in the case.
Bite marks on the victim’s body was one of the major corroborative evidences the SIT had collected during the probe. Though other evidences, including the victim’s clothes were DNA-tested in Delhi, the investigating agency opted for the SDM college to test the bite marks on the victim’s body.
The SDM college is the only one in the country having a state-of-the-art dental forensic science laboratory. Apart from bite marks, the college also establishes age and sex of persons based on skull testing.
The SIT had sent photographs and plaster of paris (PoP) impressions of five bite marks found on the victim’s body, and PoP teeth models of all the five accused. Using the two dimensional digital dental mark analysis, which is a standard test used in medico-legal cases all over the world, Dr Ashit Acharya, who heads the laboratory, was able to link the two bite marks on the victim’s body with the dental models of accused Ram Singh and Akshay Thakur.
“There are four levels of accuracy of the dental forensic tests. While Ram Singh’s teeth model perfectly matched with three of the bite marks found on the victim’s left cheek, Thakur’s teeth model matched with two marks found on the abdomen. I also went to Delhi to clarify some doubts which the SIT had over the issue and deposed before the court. Finally, the court accepted our report in toto while declaring the accused guilty,” said Ashit.
The whole process of bringing the evidence, testing and sending the report to the court was kept a top secret till the end.
A police inspector-rank officer from the SIT- Vishal Choudhary - personally brought the evidence to the college. He stayed in the college guest house till the analysis was completed. Except college principal Dr Srinath Thakur and Dr Ashit, none knew why the SIT official had come and what kind of analysis Ashit was doing.
“Maintaining top secrecy was very much essential as the case was most sensitive,” said Ashit.
Ashit has mixed feelings about his role in establishing the crime and punishing the guilty. He is a little elated because he was able to do his bit in serving justice to the victim. But he is sad because she did not survive.
Srinath said it was a matter of pride for the college as it was able to assist the investigating agency in proving the role of the accused.
“Ours is the first college in the country to have an advanced forensic science laboratory. We are thankful to Dr Veerendra Heggade, chairman of the college, who took personal interest in establishing the laboratory,” he said.