CID’s forensic lab: Where technology blends with crime investigation
The forensic DNA test report of the CID is playing an important role in the investigation and judicial process of thousands of lawsuits
In January 2000, Nurul Islam from Noakhali filed a general diary with Sonaimuri police as his mother, Nur Nahar Begum, had been missing for a long time.
After 14 years of her disappearance, police could learn in 2014 that she had been killed and buried by her neighbours over a loan issue.
Police arrested two women, Shamsunnahar and her mother-in-law Monowara Begum, in connection with the murder. They confessed to killing Nur Nahar, mother of six children, during a police interrogation.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Bangladesh Police conducted a DNA test of a sample obtained from a skeleton recovered from under the ground and confirmed it had been Nur Nahar. The 14-year-old general diary turned into a murder case. A court later sentenced the accused to life imprisonment in this case.
The forensic DNA test report of the CID is playing an important role in the investigation and judicial process of thousands of lawsuits like the murder case of Nur Nahar.
In January 2014, the CID started DNA profiling of criminals upon a court order. The first sample was taken at the Forensic DNA Laboratory of Bangladesh Police on the 15th of the same month.
In the last six years, the CID has prepared 30,000 DNA profiles from more than 16,000 samples against nearly 6,000 cases, including murder, rape, anonymous body identification and robbery.
All profiles have been stored on the CID's server: LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) which serves as an important source of information for the investigation into cases, arrest of real culprits and trials.
In addition to doing DNA profiling, the lab has a fingerprint database of 200,000 people involved in various crimes. Various government agencies are using this database to identify criminals and know about their previous crimes.
Apart from various police agencies, the Anti-Corruption Commission and Bangladesh Bank also use the database.
Officials said their lab has facilities to test viscera of dead people and animals, human bones, hair, soft tissues, the presence of toxic or anaesthetic substances in the body, explosives, counterfeit currency and chemicals used to make this money, ballistics, fingerprints and footprints etc.
Rumana Akhter, special superintendent of police at the CID's forensic department, told The Business Standard that the types of crime are constantly changing. Therefore, the importance of investigation using technology is increasing.
She said traditional investigations often do not reveal the real facts. In that case, technology can be great help.
Mentioning the necessity to collect proper evidence for a DNA test, she said if there is a mistake in collecting the evidence, the report will also be wrong. The real culprits may remain out of reach and innocent people may suffer.
CID officials said they have 16 trained crime scene units which are working across the country to collect evidence.
But, it is too low considering the number of crimes. So, more manpower is needed for this work, they also said.