Forensics is an integral part of the criminal justice system as it helps in providing justice and maintaining law and order. In India, not many are aware of forensics, thanks to innumerable Tv shows, movies, that have helped in introducing Forensic science in India especially CID which most people used to watch on television.
Yet, only awareness is not important but also its application. Due to many factors, India is way beyond Forensic advancements and workforce that should have been introduced or implemented a long time ago.
Although, the established forensic institutions in India play a vital role in offering justice to the victims. Here is the list of top cases solved by forensics in India over the years.
Top 5 cases cracked by forensics
The top 5 cases solved by forensics have been discussed below:
1. Mumbai serial rapist-murderer case
This case comprises of Rehan Qureshi who was a serial killer in Navi Mumbai and alleged to have raped several minor girls among which two of them died particularly two and nine years old.
This case was one of the intense cases of Navi Mumbai as it took 8 long years of dedicated detective work by the Mumbai police to provide justice to the minors. The atmosphere in that area remained in a panic until Rehan Qureshi was convicted.
In June 2010, three girls were raped & murdered between the age of 5 & 9 and the whole police department was under pressure to solve the case. One among the victims was found in a gunny bag while another victim was found on the terrace of police quarters.
Everyone was so panicked that if a girl was late reaching home for even an hour, parents raised an alarm, and was the only case talked about in the city. Police investigated hard, checked into mental hospitals looking for missing inmates, checked into history sheeters, spread their informers, etc. but no clue was to be found.
Then the police took the help of the Maharashtra Forensics lab. With their help, they conducted more than 500 DNA tests across the suspected areas of all suspected persons including the son of a senior official who became a suspect as the police took no chances.
This effort didn’t lead them to the killer, however, it was revealed that two murderers are involved convicting the crime in the same manner among which one was captured and convicted to imprisonment in September 2015. Then the murder case of the other two minors was transferred to the Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in 2012.
The case remained unsolved for a long period of time until a series of sexual assaults of minors began again 20 km away from Kurla (where other girls were killed) in 2017.
This time police had additional help of CCTV and narrowed it down to a suspect wearing a blue shirt and always on the phone call probably listening rather than talking suspecting him probably to be a salesman. Although caught in the camera, he was still not to be found and every week a new assault case was registered.
On September 26, police roamed around Mira road near Naya Nagar area where he was constantly seen after committing a crime. Among the police officers in the area, Sanjay Kumar, Police commissioner of Navi Mumbai was also present in civil dress. When Qureshi was brought beside him, his tilt movement was noticed by Kumar and his blood sample was sent to the forensics lab.
Forensics lab had already conducted 880 tests costing them 40 lakh rupees and when another sample was sent to the lab, the FSL official smiles and responds, “Test no. 881 was a match”.
This case reminds us of the first case in the world where DNA testing was used. The serial murderer Colin Pitchfork case.
2. Neeraj Grover Murder case
Neeraj Grover was a television executive working in a Mumbai-based production house namely Synergy Adlabs. In 2008, he was helping Maria Susairaj to establish herself in the film industry. Maria was in a relationship with Lieutenant Emil Jerome Mathew and was going to be engaged in 2 months.
On 6 May 2008, Neeraj Grover went to meet Maria and was never found again. At that time, Susairaj was shifting to her new rented apartment and Neeraj was helping her. On that day when Neeraj didn’t return home for 24 hours, his parents filed a missing report.
Police suspected Susairaj in the incident and interrogated her but she refused to know about the whereabouts of Neeraj Grover. She continued with the same story for 8-10 days until she accepted that her boyfriend, Mathew had him killed in her presence.
She told police that Neeraj Grover was killed by his boyfriend in the heat of the moment as he saw Neeraj with Maria in a compromising position and stabbed him to death. After the murder, both of them conspired to cut his body and fit in a bag and then drove in a friend’s car (Santro) to the outskirts of Mumbai and dumped the body after burning it.
Although, it wasn’t enough as sufficient evidence to link them with the crime was required. Thus, the Forensics lab was called upon to match the evidence. In the absence of any eyewitness, Forensics played a huge role in convicting the suspects.
The dependency on forensics examination can be determined by the fact that the Forensics scientific officer was called upon more than 20 times in court to reveal the procedure used in the examination of evidence.
The official told the court that, “the bloodstains on most of the surfaces in the apartment were cleaned, yet with utmost care and precision they were able to collect DNA samples from washed bloodstains.”
The Forensics official added that “The charred bones of Neeraj were insufficient to identify him but forensics experts collected three teeth, femur bones, and some other residue so as to extract the DNA sample from it. They were matched positively with his parent’s DNA.”
Then again the mud collected from the tire treads was forensically matched with the secondary crime scene(where the body parts were found) to connect the links. The mud traces also matched with the mud sample of the area where Neeraj’s body was disposed.
3. Geeta and Sanjay Chopra kidnapping and murder case
Geeta Chopra (16-year-old) & Sanjay Chopra (14-year-old) were kidnapped and then murdered by Ranga and Billa on 26th August 1978.
On the day of the incident, both siblings were going to an All India Radio program namely ‘Yuva Vani’. They both left the house around 6:30 pm and were supposed to reach the All India Radio office at 7 pm. However, due to mild drizzling when Ranga and Billa offered them a lift, they accepted it and entered the car.
Since Geeta knew the route, therefore, she started questioning when they deviated from the road. In no time, a scuffle between them began as Getta tried pulling the driver’s hair and Sanjay started snatching the kirpan from another kidnapper even though he got injured and shouted for help outside the windows.
Bhagwan Dass, who was coming out of the gurudwara saw them and immediately informed the police including the vehicle no. However, the operator wrote the vehicle no. as MRK 8930 instead of HRK 8930. Inderjeet Singh was another witness who heard some voices as he passed the car and thus followed them on his scooter. He too informed the police immediately as he couldn’t keep up with the speed of the car.
At 8:45 pm, their father took his scooter from home to reach the All India Radio office where he came to know that his children never reached there. He then called at home and everyone where they might go. At 10:15 pm, the father called the police and have them their descriptions.
Kidnappers then parked the car in Buddha Jayanti Park where they gave children ice cream to eat and changed the vehicle’s no. plates. Then, they asked them about their parents to which children told them that their father is a navy officer.
Ranga then suggested taking the help of Geeta in robbing a jewelry car coming from Palam airport instead of asking for ransom and then they would be released. They drove onto an untarred road and went 100 yards away from the vehicle.
Ranga then hit the boy with kirpan but couldn’t followthrough after the 1st hit so Billa took the kirpan and killed the boy. After that, they went on to rape Geeta. During that monstrous act, Geeta took the longer kirpan and struck Billa on the head, and started running away. Ranga caught her and Billa killed her.
Then they drove to the Willingdon hospital for treatment of the hit caused by Geeta on Billa’s head. The doctor called the police as it was a cognizable offense. The on-duty constable in the hospital was called. Ranga and Billa gave fake names and told them that robbers struck him with the rod.
They were then taken to the police station and to the scene of a robbery and asked to report the following day in the police station. Since they have their fake address and names, they were unable to be tracked by the police the next day.
The body of both the children was found on 28th August by a shepherd and informed the police. During the investigation, police suspected Ranga and Billa to be the criminals and started searching for them.
At last on 8th September, they were caught in a train when they entered in Kalka mail in the compartment reserved for military personnel. One of those military men identified them and handed them over to the police.
Ranga and Billa were kept in separate non-adjoining cells. They also voluntarily confessed of the crimes and recorded in front of a magistrate but later retracted from their statements.
The forensics department then came to the aid of police in linking them with the crime scene. Forensic experts reported the wounds on Billa’s head and Ranga’s hand to be around 15 days old. The hair of both suspects found on the body of children. The mud of the crime scene matched with the mud in the car. Fingerprints of both children and suspects were found in the car.
In the confession, they confessed to raping the girls but the forensics department couldn’t confirm that as the bodies of the children were in the advanced decomposition stage.
They were then convicted and sentenced to death under section 302(murder), 363(kidnapping), 365(Kidnapping with unlawful confinement), 366(kidnapping a woman with intention of sexual intercourse), and 367(kidnapping with intention to cause hurt).
The convicts appealed to the high court, Supreme Court, President challenging the verdict but was constantly turned down. They were also interviewed in jail but the press reporters where Billa confessed as innocent while Ranga refused to interview. They were finally sentenced to death on 31 January 1982.
4. 1995 Tandoor murder case
On 2 July 1995, Naina Sahni was killed by her husband and Congress youth leader Sushil Sharma. Then Sharma took the body in a bag to the nearby restaurant of his friend “Bagiya Bar-be-que” and burned it in a tandoor where the fire was noticed by the policemen and found the body.
Sushil had a suspicion of his wife’s extramarital affair with his friend Maltoob Karim for a very long time which also created some tensions in their relationship. On that day, Sushil came into the apartment and saw Naina drinking Alcohol and busy in a phone call which she hung upon his arrival and told him that the call was from her family.
Sushil redialled the number based on suspicion and heard Maltoob on the other side of the call. Angered Sushil then took out his licensed revolver and shot her on the head and neck 3 times while the 3rd shot missed. Then with the help of his friend Keshav Kumar, Sushil tried to dump the body by burning it in a tandoor.
Police were patrolling in the area and saw smoke coming out of the restaurant at midnight. Suspecting fire, they tried to check and entered the restaurant. Sushil and Keshav tried to send them away by giving wrong statements but constable Abdul Nazir Kunju found the body of Naina beside tandoor and the foul smell gave them away.
Police arrested Keshav but Sushil ran away and was caught in Bengaluru on 10th July. The next day whole country was shocked by this horrendous act of Sushil Sharma. Police investigated the place and found a dead body half-burnt with blood spots around that area. Since Sushil Sharma ran away, police issued an arrest warrant against him from the concerned court. Police then searched his apartment thoroughly and found cartridge cases.
The body was identified later by Matloob as Naina Sahni and then subjected to a post-mortem report by Dr. Murari Prasad Sarangi. The postmortem reported that:
Both eyelids with face charred, eyeballs destroyed, ears, nose, and lips were also charred, teeth were exposed and studded with soot, other natural orifices were studded with soot particles.
External examination revealed extensive charring of a female dead body beyond identification, having attained a Pugilistic attitude owing to coagulation of the muscle proteins.
Skullbone exposed, Partly burnt, blackened, showed multiple post mortem cracks with a few strands of partially burnt hair and metallic hair clip.
Thoracic cage, intercostal muscles, and diaphragm were burnt more on the left side.
- Lt. thigh was chopped off, 28 cms. below left. And super iliac spine, underlying thigh bone cut from the back showing beveling from above downwards vide overleaf. No evidence of firearm discharge from an internal examination of the organs.
- HEAD and NECK Scalp tissue almost burnt except over a very insignificant (2.5 x 0.8 cm) area on the occipital region with a few strands of Page 0800 burnt hair. Skull showed multiple post mortem heat cracks partly charred and blackened.
Dr. Sarangi opined about the cause of death due to hemorrhagic shock and all injuries are caused after death. However, the final decision was pending till the viscera, blood sample examination. X-Ray was asked to conduct for any firearm in the body but due to the non-availability of the X-ray machine, it was not done.
The investigating agency was not satisfied with the autopsy report and decided to get another postmortem done by a board of surgeons which also included 3 surgeons including Dr. Sarangi.
In the second postmortem examination, the body was subjected to X-ray examination where they found 2 metallic pieces (1 in the head and 1 in the neck). After extraction, they were found to be lead bullets, and thus, firearm injury was found to be sufficient to be the cause of death.
The bullets recovered from the body were examined with cartridges recovered from the apartment and they were successfully matched by the Forensics department. DNA samples from the body being burnt were examined with the parents of Naina Sahni and was successfully confirmed.
The trials were conducted against Sushil Sharma and were sentenced to death on 7 Nov 2003 while Keshav Kumar was punished with 7 years imprisonment in District session court Delhi.
Sushil Kumar challenged the verdict in Delhi High court which was later upheld by the High court. In 2013, Supreme Court commuted his death sentence due to no evidence of chopping of Naina’s body and sentenced him to life imprisonment stating that it was not a crime against society but a crime committed due to a strained personal relationship with his wife.
5. Kotkhai gangrape and murder case
On July 4 2017 a 16-year-old Gudiya was abducted, raped, and murdered. She was found on 6 July in a forest naked and the postmortem examination of the girl confirmed rape.
The police started their investigation and arrested 6 local residents people alleging them of the crime. This angered the locals and protests erupted in peaceful Shimla. The protests turned violent when one of the accused was killed in police custody. Due to this, locals set the Kothkai police station on fire.
Due to erupted violence, the High court transferred the case to the CBI. CBI took over the case and interrogated the accused. They also matched their DNA samples with the bloodstains and semen sample on the victim’s body, took 4 polygraph tests, narco-analysis yet the results weren’t positive.
CBI released the accused after the results and arrested 9 police officers including an IG level officer. CBI then started the investigation from scratch.
They found nothing evident related to the incident as the criminal was clever enough to not leave any footprints there. However, some blood samples and semen samples were left. DNA analysis of those samples provided some info about the suspect such as his age.
CBI interrogated around 4,000 people and took around 250 blood samples of the residents near that area. No positive result could be found. Later, Forensics scientific officer offered to do a much detailed DNA analysis of those 250 samples.
In the detailed analysis, the DNA sample of the accused somewhat matched with one member of a family in Shimla. CBI interrogated them and found them to be the family of the accused who had been living away from the family and has criminal records against his name.
CBI came to know about the accused, yet he was difficult to trace as he didn’t use any mobile and used to call from someone else’s mobile to his close ones. They traced the calls of his close ones to trace his location.
After nine months on April 13, he was traced and arrested in farmland in the Rohru area of Shimla. The verdict has not yet been given by the court.
Although the Forensics department is the most vital organ of our criminal justice system as the Heart of our body yet in India, the Forensics department is way beyond recognition in our country. The Forensics officers are not appointed in the vacant Forensic labs leaving hundreds and thousands of cases pending.
No doubt, victims don’t get justice in the country in a short period of time. With a large number of cases pending Forensics department should fill the vacancies with educated and skilled professionals.