Nepal | May 29, 2020

CIB yet to decide which country to send DNA sample

Nirmala rape, murder mystery

Ujjwal Satyal
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Kathmandu, February 19

The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal, which had planned to send the vaginal swab of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta, who was raped and murdered in Kanchanpur on July 26, to a foreign country for more accurate DNA test results, is still undecided about where to send the sample.

Multiple sources had told THT that the CIB was doing groundwork to find an international lab where they could send the vaginal swab to extract the unique DNA sample of the male perpetrator.

Deputy Inspector General Niraj Bahadur Shahi, also the director of CIB, talking to THT said, “Although we were preparing to send the sample to a foreign country, we are still undecided about the country.” Shahi also said that they would need permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs to send the sample abroad.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Rakesh Singh, director at Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory, said the original sample itself was unlikely to be sent to a foreign country as the foreign lab would seek electropherogram, a report of the DNA test, before asking for the original sample. Singh said, “It normally takes a few weeks for any lab to study the report. Only then will the labs say whether they can conduct further tests on the original DNA sample.”

Experts have doubted the procedure adopted by the police for extracting DNA from the vaginal swab collected from Nirmala’s body.  A report prepared by the National Human Rights Commission had stated that although Nepal Police had extracted certain male DNA chromosomes from the vaginal swab of Nirmala, the sample could not be taken as sufficient evidence even if the extracted male DNA samples matched with those of the accused.

The report said the CPFSL, which undertook the DNA test, did not extract the male Autosomal STR chromosome from the sample which is unique to every individual. Only the Autosomal STR can identify the culprit as it does not match any other person’s.

Instead, the police had only extracted the Y-STR chromosome, which can be common to people not only of the same lineage but also with people across cultures.

A version of this article appears in print on February 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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