Home / Forensic Science in the News / To nail MLA, cops looking for ‘Don’ for proof that it bit his wife

To nail MLA, cops looking for ‘Don’ for proof that it bit his wife

NEW DELHI: You can lie through your teeth, but your teeth don’t lie. Delhi Police seems to have taken this saying quite seriously as, starting with the Nirbhaya gang rape, forensic dentistry is now a key weapon in its arsenal.It amused many when the city police sought the whereabouts of Somnath Bharti’s dog on Monday. The defence even mocked the prosecution, asking if the police wanted to interrogate Don, as the AAP MLA’s pet is fondly called.

In her complaint submitted three months ago, Bharti’s wife Lipika Mitra had mentioned how her husband had unleashed his dog upon her and got her bitten. Sources say that, after registering FIR in the case, the cops collected impressions of the bite marks from Lipika’s stomach. These were preserved and tested by forensic officials.

Police had, in fact, planned ahead to have the dog’s teeth impressions tested for a match with the marks on Lipika’s body. If the samples match, Lipika’s claims would be substantiated and the case would become watertight.

World over, police have been using forensic dentistry to nail criminals for decades. The first known use of these techniques was in the case involving serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy escaped from a US prison to go on a rampage at a store, where he bludgeoned two students to death. He also raped one of them-a woman. During the act, he bit her, leaving teeth marks behind.

Bundy was recaptured later and he went on trial for the murders. The bite marks were the only physical evidence he had left at the scene of crime. Cops had taken plaster impressions of Bundy’s teeth and a forensic dentist proved that they matched with the photograph taken from the body of the woman. The evidence led to his conviction.

For Delhi Police, the first use of this prosecution tool was in 2012 when its SIT was probing the Nirbhaya case. Nirbhaya’s body bore bite marks which police collected. They then prepared impressions of the teeth of the five accused and sent all samples to Sri Dharmasthal Manjunatheshwar College of Dental Sciences and Hospital in Dharwad, then the only lab in the country which conducted these tests.

“Safdarjung Hospital doctors had spoken to Dr Ashith B Acharya from the Dharwad college and a sub-inspector from the special task force of south district had carried the photos and plaster of Paris impressions of the bite marks found on the victim’s body and teeth models of the accused.

Between January 3 and 7, a series of tests were conducted and a 12-page report handed over to cops.

On May 6, 2013, this piece of evidence was contested by the defence, but the court finally accepted the report,” said an investigator.

Since then, Delhi cops have used this technique in a few more cases-including the Danish woman’s gang rape in 2014. Bharti’s is an addition to the list.

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About Odont1

Odont1 is a seasoned forensic dentist, researcher and educator with an interest in progressing the science of the discipline while retaining those elements that are evidence based and useful to the judicial system at any level.

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