In the DNA: How Forensics nailed Salman Khan…

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Forensics played a huge role in convicting Salman Khan in the blackbuck case. The court ruled that the blackbucks did not die of natural causes, while the second post-mortem report showed that both blackbucks had suffered gunshot injuries.

Besides the report submitted by three doctors, who were part of the medical team which had performed the second round of post-mortem, the court also took into consideration the DNA test conducted, which confirmed that two different blackbucks were killed on the night of October 1998.

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Dr GV Rao of the CDFD Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, shared that the investigating officer and the then assistant conservator of forests of Jodhpur, Lalit K Bora, had conducted a careful investigation. He had exhumed the bones and skin after the blackbuck was buried. “When he sent us a requisition, we told him we would try to establish the identity of the species. During that time, wildlife forensics, particularly DNA identification, was in a nascent stage. Officials did not want a vague report that said the species belong to antelopes. With the newly-developed markers and methodology, we were able to identify the species and could establish that the bones and skin belonged to the animal,” avers Rao.

Rao shares that when he deposed in December 2015 in court, he had explained how they had developed the methodology and how the test was conducted to identify the species. “In the cross-examination too I was able to explain the authenticity of the test and results. I am happy that at last the court has convicted Salman Khan.”
He maintains that the judgement reinforces faith in the judiciary even though the accused is so powerful.

The DNA sample of the two femur bones collected from the site of the accident was established as belonging to two different blackbucks. What’s more, from the site of the killing, the two bodies of blackbucks as well as blood-soaked mud and stones were recovered. The FSL report showed that the blood from the mud and the stone matched with that of the black bucks.

This evidence played a key and deciding role in the final verdict.

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