High-tech DNA testing on cards

Lalitpur, December 18:

National Forensic Science Laboratory will introducing a high-tech DNA testing facility in two months. It is bringing in Liquid Nitrogen Freezer Mill and Real Time PCR with Rs 6 million World Bank aid.

After the installation of the equipment, NAFOL will be able to extract DNA from bone and burnt tissues.

Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Ganesh Shah, acknowledging that NAFOL had played a vital role in establishing rule of law and peace in the country, today said he would make efforts for establishing the lab an independent organisation.

Speaking at the 13th annual function of the lab, the minister said NAFOL had contributed to investigating criminal cases at a time when impunity was on the rise.

Gauri Pradhan, spokesperson for National Human Right Commission, said NAFOL had played an important role in investigating Shivapuri case, adding that they needed to refer the case to Finnish experts due to lack of hi-tech testing facilities in the lab.

Pradhan claimed that NAFOL’s service had an importance in providing transitional justice. “Inability to sort out cases of disappearance is a judicial failure,” added Pradhan. He said NAFOL needed an independent, competent and credible management to solve complicated cases of DNA testing Supreme Court Registrar Dr Ram Krishna Timilsina

said NAFOL had been helpful in identifying criminals.

Forensic expert Jivan Prasad Rijal said most investigations undertaken by state commissions had failed due to lack of experts, asking political parties not to meddle in the working of the commission formed to probe cases of disappearance.

NAFOL executive director Bhinu Shova Tuladhar said once the lab got hi-tech testing facilities, it would be able to test DNA from bone samples. At present NAFOL is testing DNA from blood samples to solve cases of inheritance, criminal cases, immigration and baby switching. NAFOL receives around 10 applications for DNA testing every month. It charges Rs 8,000 to test each sample.