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Dr Narco's gone, what will happen to cases?

By Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru
February 27, 2009 17:22 IST
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Dr Malini, aka Dr Narco, was sacked by the Karnataka government two days ago.

This is no ordinary case as Dr Malini conducted the narco-analysis tests at the Bengaluru Forensic Sciences Laboratary, where she was the assistant director.

The implications are huge: At least 400 narco-analysis tests by various investigating agencies from across the country will be put on hold.

Police sources say it will not affect the investigations in any way.

If the agencies need to proceed with the case on the basis of a narco-analysis test, then they will have to approach the Ahmedabad laboratory, the only other location where narco tests are conducted.

Until a fresh appointment is made, Karnataka police officers say no such test can be conducted at the Bangalore FSL as there is none to step into Dr Malini's shoes at the moment.

Dr P Chandra Sekharan, a forensic sciences expert, says that there is nothing to worry if such tests are kept pending.

"I only hope that good sense prevails and agencies discontinue using such tests. I would like to quote the Mumbai 26/11 attacks investigation. The two main reasons why this investigation was such a success is only due to the hard work by the Mumbai police and the fact that they did not resort to a narco-analysis test. From day one, I have been pointing out the fraud at the Bangalore FSL. Dr Malini is a psychologist and a narco can be undertaken only by a psychiatrist," he said.

"If the police want to continue using the narco-analysis technique, they should go to any psychiatrist. However I firmly believe that the police must stop using this primitive method which the rest of the world has discarded," he said.

Dr Malini's dismissal is a major setback to the controversial technique. The FSL has always been in the eye of the storm over the procedure since courts in India do not accept the revelations as evidence.

A team of doctors from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences submitted a report, stating that there is no scientific evidence to substantiate such test results.

An investigating officer says in almost all cases in which the narco-analysis was used, the result has been disastrous.

The Kerala high court came down heavily on the FSL as it suspected that the tests were doctored in the high-profile Sister Abhaya case.

The sensational Telgi scam or fake stamp paper case too relied heavily on narco-analysis tests.

However, the special investigating team stayed clear of the information it obtained through the narco tests and decided to use its own findings.

The Aarushi Talwar murder case is yet another example of FSL controversy. The Central Bureau of Investigation tried finding answers through this test. However, the agency is still groping in the dark for answers.

Another example is the 2007 Hyderabad blasts.

Each accused gave a different version during the test and the Hyderabad police had no breakthrough till Indian Mujahideen terrorists were arrested.

Adds Dr Sekharan, "It is laughable the manner in which the FSL claims that the accused has spoken so much during a test. There is just yes and no during a test. It is impossible that a man can tell a story during the test."

The FSL, however, claims the success rate has been 95 per cent.

Dr Malini's dismissal is turning into a major controversy in Karnataka though political parties appear to agree with her dismissal.

The issue was raised on the floor of the House by Janata Dal-S Member of the Legislative Council M C Nanaiah. When MLCs started to protest in the well of the House, state Home Minister Dr V S Acharya announced the decision to sack her.

The Karnataka government's decision was taken on the basis of a report which stated that she had forged the date of her birth certificate to get a job at the FSL.

Dr Malini declares a political conspiracy led to her ouster.

"According to the government I had produced a certificate stating that I was born in 1960. How can this be correct when my parents were married in 1962? I will take legal recourse and I can state with confidence that I am honest and true to my conscience," she said.

The Congress wants all cases dealt by Dr Malini re-examined.

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