Cops yet to release DNA test results of suspects held recently

Kathmandu, December 16

Nepal Police, which took DNA samples of two suspects — Pradip Kumar Rawal and Dinesh Chaudhary of Kanchanpur district — on December 6 in connection with Nirmala Panta rape and murder case has not released the DNA test results yet.

Thirteen-year-old Nirmala Panta, a resident of Bhimdutta Municipality of Kanchanpur district, was raped and murdered on July 26. However, police have yet to arrest the culprit(s).

Superintendent of Police Ram Dutta Joshi said police had not made public test results as investigation was still under way. “We have not received results of the investigation yet,” he said without elaborating.

DNA samples of Rawal and Chaudhary are being tested at Nepal Police Forensic Laboratory and National Forensic Science Laboratory of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology.

Chief of NAST’s DNA unit Dinesh Kumar Jha said the two suspects’ DNA samples were being tested in his unit, but he was not authorised to divulge details of the process.

He, however, said that the forensic lab could test a fresh DNA sample in two to three days. “However, sometimes we wait to test at least seven to eight samples together as it is an expensive process,” he said. “Forensic labs try to test multiple DNA samples at a time so that it doesn’t cost much.” He said the cost of one DNA sample test ranged from Rs 10,000 to 16,000.

He said the testing time also depended on the samples and technology. He said testing DNA samples from hard objects like tooth could take relatively longer compared to other samples such as blood. He said the time required for the test also depended on the quality of DNA samples. Sometimes samples are not of good quality, he added.

SP Rakesh Singh of Nepal Police Forensic Science Laboratory said the process of testing DNA sample could be completed within two to three days, but it sometimes took even a fortnight to a month.

Singh said workload was heavy at Nepal Police lab as it handled 25 to 30 cases a month.  He said Nepal Police lab sometimes was required to produce results of DNA tests in a short time as per the urgency and this delayed the testing of other DNA samples.

“DNA sample testing depends on the capacity of the lab, manpower and testing kit. At present, we have been testing 40 to 50 DNA samples at once,” Singh said, adding that testing was conducted in different stages — isolating, polymerase chain reaction, genodating and report generation.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel had claimed a few days ago that  police had already nabbed the culprits involved in the rape and murder of Panta and the police would make them public soon.