Indian investigators lack facilities and skills: CBI officer

June 16th, 2008 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Aarushi Talwar

Ghaziabad, June 16 (IANS) The probe into the murder of teenager Aarushi Talwar and her family’s domestic help in suburban Noida was being delayed because Indian investigators lack the ability to secure a crime scene to ensure that evidence is not destroyed or tampered with, a top police officer said here Monday. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for instance, can rely on only 10 percent of evidence available at a crime site as 90 percent of the clues are destroyed because the police do not have the wherewithal to ensure they remain intact, M.L. Sharma, the agency’s special director, said.

He was delivering the keynote address at the inauguration of a four-day course on “Crime scene management safety, evidence recovery, preservation and exploitation” being conducted here by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“We have the talent but lack facilities,” he said, pointing out that the US has 300 forensic laboratories for a population of 300 million while India has only 30 such laboratories for its over one billion people.

A 30-member FBI team is conducting the course to develop the skills of 35 police officers from across India in tackling terror-related cases.

“Behind every blast lies the terrorists’ basic aim to cause huge destruction of life and property and create a sense of insecurity in the society,” Sharma said.

“As terrorists go hi-tech using the Internet and remote-controlled devices, the Indian police forces are ill-equipped to investigate blast cases,” he added.

The National Bomb Data Centre at Manesar in Haryana is the only specialized agency that imparts training to officers in this area “but after reviewing the present terror scenario it is not sufficient”, Sharma maintained.

Kathy L. Stearman, a legal attaché at the US embassy in New Delhi said that since the establishment of an FBI office in the Indian capital, the bureau had been frequently offering courses on different issues.

“We are ready to assist the CBI in the investigation of terror-related cases if the Indian government requests us to do so,” Stearman added.

Among the subjects being dealt with during the course are crime scene management and administration, photography and sketching, gathering DNA evidence, fingerprinting, digital evidence collection, and forensic analysis of bomb scenes.

The last day of the course Thursday would see a practical exercise on post-blast crime scene analysis.

Police officers from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, as also from the National Security Guards, are participating in the course.

Aarushi, a 14-year-old student of Noida’s Delhi Public School was found murdered in her Jal Vayu Vihar apartment May 16. The police initially named the family’s domestic help Hemraj as the prime suspect but backtracked after his body was found on the roof of the building the next day.

Aarushi’s dentist father Rajesh Talwar was arrested May 23, with the police saying he killed his daughter in a fit of rage because he objected to her closeness with Hemraj.

Police said Talwar first killed Hemraj and then his daughter.

The CBI, which took over the case June 1 after an outcry over the shoddy manner in which the Noida police had probed the case, on Friday arrested Talwar’s compounder Krishna.

However, in spite of subjecting the two suspects, as also Aarushi’s mother Nupur Talwar, to a series of scientific tests, the CBI is nowhere near cracking the case or ascribing a motive for the crime.

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