Ahmedabad: The alleged Gandhinagar double murder case, where the charred bodies of a couple were found by investigators, has highlighted the importance of the DNA database.
The bodies were not identified even after a fortnight, and state cops widened the search to nearby neighborhoods.
A question to the state police and Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFS) revealed that the case is not isolated. Over the past five years, cops have sought the help of medical examiners in 2,000 DNA extraction cases. The cases included that of unclaimed bodies, unidentified bodies at a crime scene, victims of suicide and victims of natural calamities, among others.
A senior DFS DNA division official said match requests are relatively lower. “We don’t have data on the number of people identified based on the DNA match so far because the state police are keeping the records. What we can say is that the DNA match with relatives is a foolproof method of identification and that more investigators should be made aware of its applications,” the official said.
State police officials said they have had success in at least 30 cases with the method’s deployment. A larger database of DNA in crime cases and unidentified bodies is being created with a software update for police records prior to the eGujCop system.
Anil Pratham, DGP (crime CID), said that for the past few years DNA has been taken from all unclaimed bodies and unidentified bodies. “Although the body cannot be kept for long, whenever the question of identification arises, it can be used. The pilot project remained successful in districts such as Anand and Ahmedabad,” he said.
Ajit Rajian, SP of Anand district, said he has set up a special unit for identification of unclaimed bodies. “A sub-inspector of police heads it, and we have on one side the missing persons report and on the other the unclaimed bodies of Anand and neighboring districts. The unit has been able to trace 28 cases so far. Besides using the photograph of the missing person and the corpse, DNA proves to be a definitive scientific method to link the person to the family,” he said.
Virendra Singh Yadav, Ahmedabad PS rural, said all staff are trained in scientific methods and have collected DNA from unidentified bodies. “We were also able to link the person to a crime scene and identify the corpse through DNA,” he said.
Forensic experts have said that with new methods, DNA can be extracted even from charred and decomposed bodies or body parts.