Sheena Bora murder: Had handed over samples to Pen cops, says doctor

Allegations of the Pen police having bungled the probe in the immediate aftermath of being alerted about Sheena Bora’s burnt, decomposing body are gaining more credence with every new revelation.

mid-day spoke to the doctor who was called in to conduct a spot post-mortem of the body in 2012 and has learnt that he had handed over samples for DNA analysis to the Pen police. While the Pen police has claimed the samples were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Kalina, laboratory officials coming up empty-handed despite looking for the records for the entire day yesterday.

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Sheena Bora. File Pic/ PTI

What’s more, a doctor attached to the Pen Rural Hospital, where Sheena’s remains should have been sent to be preserved for some time to aid in investigations, has also confirmed that the remains never reached the hospital.

The desperate Mumbai Police now plans to send a team from the biology department of the laboratory to the crime scene to hunt for evidence like remains of the body or clothing, but experts say the chances of any such evidence being found more than three years after the murder are very low.

Spot autopsy
Dr Sanjay Thakur, health officer attached to the Primary Health Center, Kamarli, which is the closest from the spot near Gagode Budruk village where Sheena’s decomposed, half burnt body was found, had visited the scene in May 2012, along with some staffers from the hospital, to conduct a spot post-mortem at the request of Varsai police chowkie (under Pen police station).

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The doctor and his team reached the spot a little after 5 pm. “The face was burnt beyond recognition. Though there was some flesh on the body, it was highly decomposed and stinking. Some portions of the burnt clothes were also visible on the body along with some maggots,” recalled Dr Thakur.

“Usually, fresh dead bodies are sent to the Pen Rural hospital for post-mortem, whereas spot autopsies on decomposed dead bodies are usually done by doctors attached to the primary health centre. In this case, too, since the body was decomposed, the police informed us,” he said.

The doctor added that since the body was burnt and highly decomposed, he could not ascertain the preliminary cause of death nor could he get any viscera samples for examination. However, he collected samples that were needed to identify the deceased through DNA examination, for which the samples were taken and handed over to the police.

Dr Thakur clarified that since the primary health centre does not have any mortuary or post-mortem room, they usually do spot post-mortems. Asked about the disposal of the decomposed body, the doctor said that only the police would know how and where the body was disposed of.

Dr Abhijit Patil, attached to the Pen Rural Hospital, confirmed to mid-day that they did not receive any such decomposed body for preservation in the hospital mortuary, “I have checked our hospital records, and no such case was brought here.”

Up in smoke?
After they were contacted by the Pen police, officials in the Forensic Science Laboratory in Kalina were going through their records to confirm if they had received any samples from them for DNA profiling around that time in 2012 but, until late evening, they could not lay their hands on the specific case.

A senior official from the laboratory confirmed this to mid-day and said, “We, at the laboratory, follow a practice of giving an acknowledgement against receipt of any sample received from the police. Since this particular case is three years old, we will be requesting the Pen police to show us the acknowledgement copy so that it become easy for us to check our records and confirm if the samples were sent for examination to us.”

Read Story: What happened to Sheena Bora's remains? The mystery deepens

The officer further added that, at present, they have nearly 8,000 samples pending for various examinations at the laboratory, which have been received from Mumbai, Thane and Raigad police alone. The pending cases with them from across the state are approximately 20,000. Director General of Police (Legal and Technical) Satish Mathur, to whom the laboratory officials report, said, “I cannot comment on an ongoing case, which is under investigation.”

New expedition
The Khar police investigating Sheena Bora murder case have informed scientists from the biology department of the Kalina forensic lab to be ready to visit the crime scene to look for any human remains or articles of clothing etc from the spot where Sheena’s body was burnt. They have been told they will be informed of the date later.

Forensic experts, however, say there will be very little chance of any such evidence being found three years on, but added that since the police want the spot to be investigated, the team will be sent whenever they want it to go.

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