Not only did Satara’s Dr Death get away with murder for 13 years, but investigators are now going to have a tough time making an air-tight case against him.While the police claim they have a detailed confession from Santosh Pol, forensic experts said it will be a major challenge to prove that the people whose remains were found in his farmhouse are indeed who Pol claims they are. The method Pol used — lethal injection — poses another problem.
Assistant Police Inspector TP Sonawane of Wai police station said, “We will have to wait for the DNA examination before we can even confirm that the skeletal remains exhumed from the farmhouse are indeed that of the four adults who were registered as missing by the Wai police.”
It is going to be even harder to prove that the four victims whose bodies were recovered were killed by an overdose of anaesthetics.
“Only metallic poisoning traces can be found in cases where the bodies have been buried for several years,” a forensic surgeon from Mumbai pointed out. “In case of drug overdose, no such traces will be found in the bones or viscera.”
The usual dosage in syringes is 2 ml and 5 ml, and it is true that a dosage of 10 ml can be lethal, depending on the nature of drug. The police will have to get the exact name of the drug and the chemical components in it. Also, they will have to look for the source from where the accused managed to get the drug.”
Drugs recovered
The police said they have recovered a few saline bottles, syringes, sedatives and an electrocardiography machine during a search operation carried out in the small room that Pol used as a medical centre. Trupti Sonawane, assistant police inspector, who is investigating the case, said Right To Information (RTI) applications and a refrigerator full of injection and anaesthetics were also found. “Pol, during questioning, informed us that he would administer 10 ml of anaesthetic drugs through syringes,” said API Sonawane.
Earlier, the police exhumed the bodies with the assistance of forensic scientists from the Department of Biology and DNA from the Forensic Science Laboratory, Pune. Sources told mid-day the four mortal remains were kept in the Satara Civil Hospital mortuary, where an autopsy procedure was yet to be conducted at press time.
A police officer from the Wai police station told mid-day: “Two of these are decomposed corpses. The other two are just some skeletal remains. We also found clothes on the body of one decomposed corpse. There is nothing to identify the deceased by.”
Satara Civil Surgeon Dr Srikant Bhoi told mid-day, “We do not have a forensic department and have kept all the four remains in our cold storage until the forensic surgeon come here from Pune or Kolhapur to conduct the procedure.”
A forensic scientist team from Pune already visited the spot and has collected soil and bones for DNA analysis. The team will again visit the scene of crime to collect further evidence.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Bhimrao Deshmukh told mid-day, “Police suspect that he was well versed with anaethetics as he had practiced under a doctor. He had a electrologist degree and it appears that he joined an ayurvedic college only when people questioned his qualifications.”
The only hope for the police now is to conduct a DNA test and skull imposing tests to identify the victims. While the police claim they have extracted DNA samples of immediate family members in five cases, but are yet to trace the kin of the sixth victim, who could be an orphan.