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Experts claim non-judicious use of expensive chemicals
 GUWAHATI, Sept 13 - Are the experts at the State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFSL) resorting to non-judicious use of high-end imported chemicals used for DNA sampling?

At least the team of experts appointed by the Gauhati High Court to overview the state of affairs at the SFSL and suggest remedial measures feel so.

This is now snowballing into a tug-of-war between forensic experts, who have now taken two different positions on this contentious matter.

In fact, the committee has smelt a rat on what they termed as ‘non-judicious’ use of imported chemicals used for DNA profiling and had inferred towards ‘financial discrepancy’.

The DNA division examines nearly 150 cases every year, and the trend is increasing.

The committee in its report – based on field visits made to some Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CSFL) – stated that the comparative study vis-à-vis the number of cases analyzed and the amount of chemical used does not add up.

“As this chemical is very expensive, such a non-judicious use of it over the years is a matter of concern, especially when the state of affairs is so poor. If it is costing the State exchequer more than it should ideally then it must be investigated,” sources told The Assam Tribune.

Sources, without wishing to be named, claimed that the expert committee has submitted documents to substantiate their case in its report.

The SFSL has been sourcing the DNA chemicals from a US-based firm, and if sources are to be believed, one unit of chemical costs around Rs 4 lakh.

However, sources at the SFSL, when contacted, refuted the claims of the expert committee and said that the committee had misinterpreted the entire process of DNA sampling and had ignored the practical aspects of it.

Elaborating on this, sources countered that the expert committee has ignored the fact that the chemicals has certain validity.

“The chemical we are talking about comes with a validity period of one year. Significantly, the procurement process is time consuming and by the time it reaches the lab, six months are already over. Practically, we are left with only six months to use the chemical, which is not possible all the time,” sources contended.

“The DNA section of the lab is most productive. It has earned substantial amount of revenue over the years and is by and large self-sufficient. Although we do not charge anything from the State agencies for DNA profiling, the other State agencies and even the parties involved in family court cases have to pay Rs 5,000 per exhibit,” sources said.

“The experts, I feel, have ignored the practical know-how of DNA sampling,” sources added.

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