Maharashtra CID’s fingerprint centre helps crack 588 types of crimes since 2015

Maharashtra CID’s fingerprint centre helps crack 588 types of crimes since 2015

An officer from the fingerprint centre said that their role mainly comes into play when the police fail to get clues in a case. (Representational)

With a database of 6,85,616 history-sheeters, the state Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) fingerprint centre has assisted the police in solving 588 types of crimes and secure 200 convictions since 2015.

Collection of fingerprints from crime scenes and using the database to match them with suspects has, more recently, enabled the police to trace some house-breakers within 48 hours.

An officer from the fingerprint centre said that their role mainly comes into play when the police fail to get clues in a case. “When a crime takes place, fingerprint experts are called to the spot. We try to identify articles at the spot, which the suspect may have touched, and check for fingerprints with the help of certain chemicals. Once we get the impressions, we check whether the prints procured from the spot match with anyone from our database,” said an expert.

In Maharashtra, the fingerprint centre is monitored by the CID, which is headquartered in Pune. It has three divisional offices in Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad. There also exists fingerprint offices in 42 district police departments, which keep track of 10 fingerprints of each criminal arrested and convicted in their jurisdiction. “These fingerprint databases are mainly created with the help of police,” said an expert.

A senior police officer said that fingerprints of every person arrested in serious offences, like rape, robbery, murder and dacoity, are uploaded on the common server. “Fingerprints of every convicted accused, including offenders of petty cases like assault, are also taken,” he added.

“Previously, we would take fingerprint impressions using ink and send the same to the fingerprint centre for updation in its records. But now we use biometric machines to upload the fingerprint directly to the server,” the officer said.

Making use of the improved technology, the Malad police in Mumbai was recently able to crack a case of house break-in within 48 hours. An officer said that when the fingerprints recovered from the spot were cross-checked with the database, it matched history sheeter Ajay alias Aplu Chinappa Dhotre.

“The complainant had gone to his native place. Dhotre sneaked inside the house and fled with cash and valuables worth Rs 45 lakh… A case was registered on September 13. Our men managed to get fingerprints that matched with Dhotre. He was wanted in three more cases registered with Powai, Malwani and Worli police stations,” the officer added.

In another instance, 34 cases of burglary were detected after a habitual offender, Mohomed Jafar Kalim Sheikh, was arrested in 2019. He had stolen jewellery from a shop in south Mumbai, following which a case was registered with the LT Marg police.

During investigation, the experts developed four fingerprints – two each on a plastic band aid box using grey powder and on a wooden drawer using black powder. One fingerprint was found identical with the right hand finger impression of Sheikh, leading to his arrest.

Asked about the Automated Multimodal Biometric Identification System (AMBIS) – a digital fingerprint and iris scanning system for the police – launched in 2019, SP (CID) Sandeep Diwan said, “The project is still under process. AMBIS has been launched only in Mumbai and is currently being handled by the cyber crime department. Officers at the district level are still being trained to use it while the software is being developed. As soon as the the project is complete, it will be handed over to us.”

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