Mumbai: Dead man found wearing a condom in Kamathipura, cop destroys evidence

Dec 04, 2017, 08:30 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Surgeons at Nair hospital see red after sub-inspector destroys condom with semen found on a deceased's penis, which could have helped to identify him

Forensic surgeons at Nair hospital's post-mortem centre are furious - a goof-up on part of a sub-inspector attached to Nagpada police station has cost them a crucial piece of evidence, which could have helped them to identify a dead man. Should this episode cause worry over police department's ignorance on how to proceed in a forensic investigation, or is this another case of destruction of evidence to protect those with vested interests in it - that's the question city lawyers have raised.

The lane in Kamathipura where the body was found. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The lane in Kamathipura where the body was found. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The case
It happened in the wee hours of November 29. The Nagpada police brought an unconscious man to Nair hospital's casualty ward, where he was declared dead before admission. Sub-inspector Rupesh Patil prepared the panchnama before the body was sent for an autopsy to the post-mortem centre. It read that the man, aged between 35 and 40, was found unconscious near lane 9 in Kamathipura, and on removing his pants, a condom, in which he had ejaculated, was found on his penis. The police did not find any valuables or documents, including any ID card, on him. The body, however, was sent for autopsy minus the clothes and condom, and forensic surgeons found out about the latter only after reading the panchnama copy.

The goof-up
A surgeon said, "With no document to establish his identity, we looked for clues on his body, like tattoos or other marks, but there were none. We were surprised to find out about the condom, and hence, called the sub-inspector." He was questioned about the absence of the condom, which would have helped them to get the man's DNA and identify him, as would his clothes, which could have had hair or stains. Patil, however, allegedly took a casual attitude to the whole issue and said he had removed his clothes during the panchnama and thrown away the condom. The surgeon also said that Patil gave evasive replies to some technical questions - Had the deceased visited any sex worker in the area? Why would someone have a condom on their genitals after ejaculation instead of throwing it away? Why would a person wear pants on a condom containing his discharge still on his penis?

Medical opinion
According to the surgeons, the deceased might have take some drugs or Viagra, or might have been drunk, and, during intercourse, had a cardiac arrest. In such a case, the sex worker or the brothel keeper might have asked him to leave or dumped him on the road to avoid any police inquires, they added. "We have preserved the blood and viscera to rule out any drugs or alcohol," the surgeon said, adding, "At the time of opening up the body, we did not find anything suspicious in the death." A senior surgeon said, "We asked the officer to get his superior or the senior inspector, so that they could bring these facts to his/her notice. But the sub-inspector was reluctant and told us that he would get the crime inspector, requesting us not to inform the senior inspector as he was on probation posting."

An API visited the post-mortem centre but couldn't answer the surgeons' questions, nor could he explain why Patil had destroyed crucial evidence. Dr Shailesh Mohite, professor and head of the department of forensic medicine and toxicology, said, "We have asked the police to get the condom and clothes for forensic analysis."

The other side
When contacted, the Nagpada police confirmed that Patil was indeed a probation officer and therefore unable to comment. Deepak Deoraj, deputy commissioner of police (operations) and the spokesperson, merely repeated the case details: "On November 29, between 12.30 am and 1 am, a man was found unconscious near lane 9 on Sukhlaji Street in Kamathipura. He was around 35-40 years old and was taken to Nair hospital, where he was declared dead before admission." Attempts to contact zonal DCP (zone II) Dnyaneshwar Chavan and senior inspector Sanjay Baswat did not yield any result.

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