Symposium on ‘‘Role of Forensic DNA Technology in Expediting Justice and Fighting Crime’ on 17/07/2019.
Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, AIIMS, New Delhi organized a symposium jointly in association with Ogilvy India on the ‘Role of Forensic DNA Technology in Expediting Justice and Fighting Crime’, held at India International Centre on 17th of July, 2019.
The event started with the welcome address followed by the National Anthem. The Opening remarks were given by Ms Arneeta Vasudeva, (Sr VP & Capability Head, PR) Ogilvy India. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr Sudhir K Gupta Head of the Department. The speech highlighted the need for educating and training first-line responders on proper collection & handling of DNA samples while at the same time creating dedicated infrastructure to attend to rape survivors. Dr Gupta explained the importance establishment of National one-stop sexual assault examination, care, and research centre enabled with state-of-the-art DNA collection and testing facilities. Dr BB Choudhary (DCP Delhi Police) talked about the role of investigating officers in collection and preservation of crime scene evidence. Dr Vivek Sehajpal (Additional Director, Himachal Pradesh FSL) gave an interactive presentation on how to collect & preserve DNA samples of different types, along with a practical demo of the DNA collection kits.
The second was a panel discussion led by the Dr Sudhir K Gupta, Professor & Head, Department of Forensic Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. The session was co-chaired by Dr Vivek Sehajpal, Dr Deepa Verma (Director, Delhi FSL), Dr Harish Pathak (Professor, KEM Mumbai), and Tim Schellberg (Founder & President, Gordon Thomas Honeywell).
The topics of discussion were:
· Role of forensic technology like DNA in fighting crime and building safer communities.
· Forensic examination, care and counselling of victim critical for collection of evidence against culprit.
· Challenges with samples that arrive at the lab.
· Where and how does the evidence get contaminated?
· How does contaminated DNA evidence impact yield?
· How is DNA extracted, segmented and analysed to create a sequence.
· Global Perspective on Forensic DNA – Breakthroughs across the world in DNA casework; success of databases and busting myths; India’s progress, challenges & opportunities.
Expert Panel emphasized on the rise in demand for DNA testing and increasing our capacity for Justice to survivors of Sexual Assault. Panel recommended the plan for specialised trained crime scene examination teams to ensure quick retrieval of Forensic evidence while ensuring proper collection and preservation. Dr Harish Pathak shared his experience from his centre where One stop crisis centre is established and is functional. Mr. Tim Schellberg while quoting Nirbhaya Gangrape trial showed the need and the power of DNA sample in helping the prosecution build an airtight case based on the DNA of the accused found at the crime scene. It was followed by the discussion session where audience came up with their queries regarding the topics discussed and the practical difficulties faced by the doctors of Forensic Medicine in the India. The event ended with the vote of thanks and felicitation of the chairpersons.
The event was coordinated by Dr Kulbhushan Prasad, Asst Professor and Dr Abhishek Yadav, Asst Professor along with Resident doctors of the Department.