Sunanda Pushkar's death gets new twist

Sunanda Pushkar
Highlights

Sunanda Pushkar\'s Death Gets New Twist. The corpse, they say, is a silent witness who never lies. But in India, it takes months, and in some cases years, to \'hear\' the truth from the corpse.

Sunanda Pushkar’s viscera came two months after she was found dead

The corpse, they say, is a silent witness who never lies. But in India, it takes months, and in some cases years, to 'hear' the truth from the corpse.

The viscera report of Shashi Tharoor's wife, Sunanda Pushkar, came two months after she was found dead at a luxury hotel in Delhi. And it did not reveal enough data for an FIR to be filed. The viscera samples were analysed at the Central Forensic Science Laboratories, Delhi, one of the best in India.

With modern equipment, viscera can be analysed in a week, say experts. Yet, there is excessive delay in obtaining the viscera and forensic reports.

But why is the delay?

An investigative report in CNN IBN on Saturday revealed that viscera samples that are crucial to criminal investigation were being transported by road all the way from Delhi to Hyderabad-the four day journey endangering the samples.

These samples were sent to forensic labs in Hyderabad as the two labs in Delhi were overstretched.

In each case, viscera was stored in saturated salt solution until enough samples were collected to be transported. This method is far from perfect.

According to Sudhir Gupta, head of forensic department, AIIMS, "The PH balance of viscera can be altered if these precautions are not taken which would mean even if someone has died because of poison, the viscera test will show no trace of poison.”

Earlier this month, the police department of Allahabad decided to dispose off 79 samples of viscera lying unattended at the district mortuary since 2012. Apparently only 16 of these samples were sent to state forensic laboratory by the police station concerned.

It must be recalled that the Supreme Court had directed that in all cases of death due to suspected poisoning, the investigating agencies must send the viscera samples of the deceased to forensic laboratory for examination. "We direct that in cases where poisoning is suspected, immediately after the post-mortem, the viscera should be sent to the FSL. The prosecuting agencies should ensure that the viscera is, in fact, sent to the FSL for examination and the FSL should ensure that the viscera is examined immediately and the report is sent to the investigating agencies or courts," the bench, comprising justice J Chelameswar, had said.

It was strange that in an era when organs for transplants are transported within hours in some cities, such archaic methods are still used for criminal investigation.

As a result, samples continue to pile up in the mortuaries of major cities for years.

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