On Saturday, police officers investigating the Bhandara triple rape-murder, made a slight headway in the case on Saturday after they were informed that the Diatom test conducted on the three siblings, had returned positive results.
The local police had sent bone samples of the three girls who were raped, murdered and their bodies thrown into a well, for a Diatom test.
MiDDAY, in its report on February 28, ‘Will truth be buried under botched forensic investigation?’ had mentioned how the doctors at Bhandara General hospital, instead of sending dry bones, had put the specimens in a jar containing a solution of sodium chloride. The samples were returned to the police on the ground they were not preserved properly.”
Since the samples were returned from Mumbai, the Bhandara police had sent the samples for testing to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Karnal in Chandigarh a few days ago. On Saturday, a faxed message from FSL, Chandigarh to the Bhandara police confirmed that the test reports for Diatom were positive.
Special Inspector General (Nagpur Range) Rajinder Singh confirmed this but refused to elaborate.
However, even the positive Diatom tests do not necessarily prove sexual assault or rape as mentioned by the doctors at the Bhandara General hospital, where the postmortem was conducted. Also forensics surgeons attached to various Medical Colleges across the State of Maharashtra were not very impressed with the Diatom test results.
When contacted, a forensic surgeon from Mumbai said, “Diatom is just a screening test and not an absolute test for conclusion of antimortem drowning. This particular test in fact, is no longer recommended by forensic science experts. The only option that the police have in this case is get an experienced professor of medicine to analyse the video footage.”
Another forensic expert had similar views and said, “It is difficult to use a Diatom positive test unless it is proved that the water samples collected from the well also contain the same Diatom and in the proportion as found in the body. Only then we can conclude that the victims too drowned in the same water.”
Meanwhile, the mother of the three dead girls refused to entertain talk of compensation on Saturday. “I want justice, I do not want money. I have no faith in the police, who has not managed to nab the perpetrators who took my children away,” she said.
Preliminary inquires have revealed that the victims’ mother had invested Rs 20,000, along with a few other women villagers, in a papad manufacturing company but the woman who was to start the business, duped them and escaped with the cash deposited by them. This led to frequent quarrels between the girls’ mother and their grandmother (her mother-in-law).
The woman, in fact, has complained to the police that she suspects the involvement of her mother-in-law in the murder of her children.
Bhandara Superintendent of Police Aarti Singh, confirmed receiving a complaint from the victims’ mother against her mother-in-law. “We are probing this angle too.”