In 2007, a woman was discovered missing from a train in Bakhtiarpur while she and her husband were returning from their honeymoon in Darjeeling. Although three days later a womans body was found near the rail tracks on the train route, relatives of the missing woman discounted that it was her. Nevertheless, DNA samples drawn from the body were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Patna. The basis of its DNA report and the circumstantial evidence were enough to convict the husband of the murder of his wife at the trial court and the high court.
The Supreme Court however noted numerous shortcomings in the case. On the one hand, the couple’s co-passengers put her alive on the train at 4 am when it had already crossed the spot from where the body was later recovered and on the other hand different evidence has not been produced at the trial. Moreover, the genetic report had been carried out at a private facility by non-experts, violating all norms.
The director of the FSL Patna, who admits having no technical knowledge of DNA testing, outsourced the genetic matching to the private laboratory because the FSL Patna was not equipped to carry out many analytical tests. He cleared the DNA report, even though the technician at the private laboratory had just two days of training at the lab.
As a result, the Supreme Court acquitted the husband stating: “We are left appalled by the incomprehensible omissions of the investigating agency … and we would expect and require that the authorities in charge of ensuring fair, competent and effective investigation of criminal offences would take note of this serious concern of the court and unfailingly take necessary remedial steps, so much so that these observations need not be reiterated in future entailing punitive consequences.”
Source: The Times of India