State FSL to conduct fresh tests after getting samples from JJ Hospital

Aug 29, 2015, 08:21 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

JJ Hospital said they had been unable to determine either age, sex or cause of death from the remains sent to them by the Pen police in 2012; Khar police will send the samples to the forensic lab at Kalina today

While JJ Hospital confirmed yesterday that the Pen police had in 2012 sent them bone and tissue samples - suspected to be the remains of Sheena Bora - the hospital authorities said they were unable to learn anything from them.

The forensic team yesterday collected more skeletal remains from the crime scene at Pen, which they will now cross check against the earlier samples collected by the Pen police in 2012. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
The forensic team yesterday collected more skeletal remains from the crime scene at Pen, which they will now cross check against the earlier samples collected by the Pen police in 2012. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

The samples have now been handed over to the Khar police and will be sent for fresh tests at the state forensic science laboratory (FSL) at Kalina. The lab will also test new skeletal remains found at the crime scene yesterday, to see if both sets of samples match.

Dr T P Lahane, dean of JJ Group of hospitals and Grant Medical College told mid-day, “In May 2012, we received the samples (charred bones, teeth and hair) of an unknown person from the Pen police, who had asked us to determine the age, sex, and cause of death of the deceased.

However, experts from the anatomy department could ascertain neither the age and sex, nor the cause of death from the said sample, as there was not enough tissue.”

Ready since 2013
“We had kept our report ready by December 2013, but only today the Khar police approached us asking for the samples to be given to them. As per the request, we have handed them over to the police. We do not have any more samples,” added Lahane.

After investigations began into the Sheena Bora murder, the Pen police told Mumbai cops that they had sent the remains to the FSL in Kalina. However, a scientist attached to the facility said the samples never reached the laboratory in 2012.

Now the Khar police will send these samples to the FSL for forensic tests. Meanwhile, a team from the forensic biology department at Kalina reached the crime scene at Pen and recovered a few different bone samples from the spot. Apart from the bones, the team also collected soil samples.

Interestingly, the doctor who had originally conducted the spot post-mortem on the body found on May 24, 2012, Dr Sanjay Thakur, was not part of the fresh search at the crime scene yesterday. Dr Thakur, who is attached to public health centre in Kamarli, said, “I was not asked by the police to be present at the crime scene.”

The forensic team was expected to return to Mumbai late last night. The team will prepare a detailed crime scene report before they start their work. The Khar police have also informed the Kalina lab that they will send over the JJ Hospital samples today.

A forensic scientist from the lab said they would cross check both sets of samples to see whether they matched, and to learn more about the deceased. “We will cross check and conduct tests on all the samples that are being sent to us by the police,” he said.

However, another scientist who did not wish to be named, seemed sceptical about the samples revealing much information. “With the samples being extracted three years later, it will be a wait and watch scenario,” he said.

‘Forensic evidence is crucial’
Noted criminal lawyer Dinesh Tiwari said a lot was riding on the forensic results, which the police can use to strongly establish their murder theory. “As the forensic tests on the earlier samples did not yield any result, there is as yet no correlation between those samples and the skeletal remains found at the spot now.

The challenge for the police will be to show affirmatively that the bones found now are indeed Sheena Bora’s. With no eyewitness accounts of either the murder or the body’s disposal, right now the entire case hinges upon the confessional statement of the driver,” he explained.

Brother gives DNA sample
The first DNA sample in the Sheena Bora murder case was collected yesterday, from her brother, Mikhail Bora (in pic), who was taken to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Kalina after he arrived in the city from Guwahati.

Mikhail Bora
Mikhail Bora

Forensic sources told mid-day they took hair and blood samples from Mikhail, which will be matched against the skeletal samples found at the crime scene on Friday, to try and establish whether they are indeed Sheena’s remains.

— Inputs by Shiva Devnath

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