Staff crunch delaying evidence analysis at forensic science lab

Staff crunch at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) Madiwala has been causing delay in analysing various types of evidences, especially DNA analysis.

FSL Director B Dayanand said cases under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and sexual harassment of women were being analysed on priority.

Home Minister K J George hoped that the budget would have additional allocation for the reorganisation of the laboratory.

Presently, FSL has different departments – Physics, Chemistry, Questioned Documents, Toxicology, Biology, Forensic Psychology, Photography, DNA and Research.

This apart, there are regional FSL centres at Mangaluru, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Davangere and Mysuru, where only Biology, Toxicology, Forensic Psychology and Photography departments are functioning.

As against the sanctioned strength of 147, the department has only 85 technical staff. The actual strength of the ministerial staff is 96 as against the sanctioned strength of           134.

Dayanand said 50 posts filled in recently had reduced the burden on the FSL staff.

“Recently, 50 technical staff were recruited for various departments, especially DNA. The proposal to reorganise FSL is before the State government and we intend to have departments such as Life Sciences, Forensic Physics, Forensic Chemistry, Digital Forensics, Research and Development and Training and Crime Scene Management. The proposal also recommends 199 technical staff and 134 ministerial staff.

We have also proposed to set up District Scientific Aid Units at 34 districts under the SP concerned and five police commissionerates will also have a unit each. The Finger Printing Bureau will also get merged with the FSL as per the proposal,” he said.

Home Minister George said efforts would be made to upgrade FSL to international standards.

“We have held meetings on the proposals to upgrade FSL. We hope for a good allocation of funds in the budget. A few software companies have come forward to assist us in this regard. Soon, the proposal will be cleared,” George said.

A senior official said pendency of cases was more in DNA and Questioned Documents department and that additional staff had been appointed in these departments on OOD.

“At the end of 2014, pendency was less than the cases received. The cases which need ballistic and narcotic substances analysis are invariably referred to Bengaluru FSL.
Similarly, DNA and Questioned Documents have a majority of cases. We are taking up cases under the Pocso Act and crimes against women on a priority in view of the shortage of staff,” Dayanand said.

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