Last week, JJ Hospital's dean Dr TP Lahane had told SUNDAY mid-day that he hadn't been called by the CBI. Bits from his CBI statement in the Sheena Bora murder case prove otherwise
When SUNDAY mid-day asked Dr TP Lahane on November 21 to confirm that he had given a statement to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Sheena Bora murder case, the dean of Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital had denied meeting the investigating team. “I was not called by CBI for any recording of statement,” he had then said.
However, now this paper has in its possession a copy of the statement that Lahane gave to the CBI on October 12, 2015, which is now part of the CBI chargesheet. Last week, SUNDAY mid-day had reported that senior JJ doctors are likely to be under the CBI scanner as the forensic samples that the hospital handed over to Nair Hospital this year did not match the samples that the Pen police had collected from the site where remains of Bora’s body were found in 2012.
Mid-day, in its September 19 edition ("Did JJ Hospital mix up Sheena Bora's forensic samples?"), was the first to report this discrepancy. Regarding a query on this subject, Lahane says in his statement to the CBI that the samples (bone and other materials) were received in two containers by the Anatomy Department. However, he could not answer who received the samples.
Lahane, further states that the entire examination and procedure for testing the samples were carried out under the supervision of the then Head of Department, Dr S D Gangane, who retired from service in 2013. The reports in the said case were prepared by Dr Zeba Khan, assistant professor. He even shares her cellphone number.
However, he adds, that Dr Khan’s report said that the team could not ascertain the age, sex and cause of death of the victim. The report was prepared on December 20, 2013. “Nobody approached us to collect the material and report from Pen police station,” he adds in the statement.
Interestingly, on November 21 Lahane had told SUNDAY mid-day — “We made few telephonic calls to Pen police when the report was ready.” However, in his statement to the CBI, there is no mention of any such attempt.
He also states that the letter dated May 25, 2012, (which accompanied the forensic samples sent by Pen police to the hospital's anatomy department) was addressed to them and was received by JJ staff. However, a second letter from Pen police, addressed to the Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory, was not signed by JJ staff.
Once the samples from JJ were handed over to Khar police, more discrepancies arose. Nair Hospital - which received the samples from Khar police — for examination in August reports stated that some of the bones sent by JJ did not belong to a human.
On this Lahane has stated, “Whether there were some animal bones or not can only be known after DNA or some advanced scientific tests. I cannot clarify this. You may ask Dr Zeba Khan about it.” Attempts made to contact Lahane did not yield results as he is currently at an eye camp in interior Maharashtra.
What then HOD said
SUNDAY mid-day spoke to Dr SD Gangane, who post-retirement, has joined a private medical college in Navi Mumbai. When asked Dr Gangane about the acceptance and subsequent mismatch of samples, he said, “I retired in 2013 and am unable to recall this particular case. Also, as a HOD, I was not supposed to look into each and every case brought to the Anatomy Department.” When asked if CBI had contacted him or recorded his statement, Dr Gangane replied in the negative.