By Devil’s Advocate
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner, R S Sharma was the biggest catch in the fake stamp paper racket. Infact his arrest too was amidst high drama. The Stamp Investigation Team arrested him a day after he resigned.
Now coming to the real issue. Mr. Sharma was cleared of all charges by a Mumbai court and today the man walks free after a three year stint in jail. The court while acquitting him observed that there was no evidence against him.
This brings us to the key issue. Is narco analysis really as truthful as it is claimed? The narco analysis of Telgi (kingpin), polygraph of former Mumbai cop, Dilip Nayak did make several references to Sharma’s involvement in the scam either directly or indirectly. Newspapers lapped up the news at that time and the investigating agency spoke as though they had hit the final nail in the coffin where Sharma was concerned.
With this acquittal the question is whether a narco test has any value in the eyes of law. Time and again, courts have disapproved of this investigating tool and have said in clear terms that it cannot be used as evidence. It seems as though this particular case has proved the courts right. Another thing which could be said is that the investigating agency did not do enough to use the leads they got through these narco tests.
Although the FSL at Bangalore swears that there is nothing but the truth in narco tests, this claim now seems doubtful. It seems as though a persons thoughts can be controlled during the tests and it has become a habit for criminals to throw big names while being questioned. It is not as though the FSL or the investigating agency do not know about these things.
Unfortunately, the narco tests were leaked and were used as weapons of political destruction. It is also very sad that all the effort that goes into a narco analysis test just goes down the drain as what is being noticed is that investigating agencies are really not making use of these tests. They too are using it to sensationalise the issue.
We are in an age where there is a strong demand to do away with the concept of third degree treatment in police stations. The only way to overcome this is by adopting scientific methods.
The debate on the credibility of these tests will continue for long. However it is time that investigating agencies use such tests to their advantage and convince the courts regarding its necessity. The courts too have to accept such methods. However it is unfortunate that courts too do not seem to give any kind of clarity on the use of narco analysis as an investigating tool.
I firmly believe that using this test as evidence will have nothing but a disastrous effect. The solution would be to frame guidelines while conducting such tests. Guidelines could include:
a) Consent of the accused
b) Presence of the advocate and family members of the accused during the test
c) Conduct all three tests- narco, polygraph and brain mapping to get some clarity on the issue. In 99 per cent of the cases, the three tests have not been conducted.
d) Use it only as an investigating tool.