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Commandos move out, forensic teams move in

Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai | November 29, 2008 21:56 IST

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As the commandos move out, the forensics team has now taken over the scenes of terror. The role of this team is extremely crucial for investigations, since the time-proven method will go a long way in cracking the case, says Padma Bhushan Prof Chandrasekhar.

Speaking to, the forensic expert who was awarded the Padma Bhushan for helping crack the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case of 1991, said forensics will help crack at least 40 per cent of the case.

He says a time-proven method should be relied upon and under no circumstance should the Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad rely upon narco-analysis to try and crack the case. Narco-analysis only makes for lazy investigation and the revelations by the accused in a state of trance will not help in corroborating evidence for conviction, he added.

What should be the prime job of the forensics team?

The ammunition collected from the spot will be extremely crucial to the investigation. It can be well established where the ammunition was made and the details regarding its origin will go a long way in the investigation process.

If at all they find RDX, this will help investigators determine the route from which the material came. A smart forensic sciences expert will be able to detect the origin of the RDX, he adds.

Since AK-56 rifles were used, it makes it very easy for forensic experts to gather information about where the bullets were sourced from. They have to lay their hands on the bullets and cartridge cases which will give them information on where the same was made. Both the army and police will have detailed information regarding the manufacturing units of these bullets and also to whom they have been supplied.

Apart from this, the forensics team will also have to study the records, passports, identification cards and other relevant documents available with the police. Once this process is complete, the role of the forensic medical experts commences.

Most important would be to preserve the bodies of the slain terrorists, says Chandrasekhar. The police have a tendency to burn the bodies out of anger and this should be avoided at any cost, he says. The ante-mortem wounds need to be observed and the post-mortem information has to be corroborated with the same. Specimens from the body such as skull and teeth impressions have to be preserved as it would act as a signature. Through the examination of these parts the forensic sciences team can establish the terrorist's provenance.

Chandrasekhar says considering the magnitude of this case, the Mumbai ATS should ensure that experts from forensic units from across the country should be summoned immediately to Maharashtra. They should not rely only upon the local team and instead use the expertise of the best members from across the country.

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