‘No feeling over the judgment. I just performed objective work as forensic odontologist and conducted the tests impartially and with no bias,’ said Dr Ashith B Acharya, whose DNA report played a vital role in the conviction of the four Delhi gang-rape accused.
Speaking with dna, Dr Acharya, head of the department of forensic odontology at Sri Dharmasthal Manjunatheshwar College of Dental Sciences (SDM CDS) and Hospital in Dharwad, said the Delhi case one among his routine ones.
‘However, I am happy that my knowledge is used to serve justice to the victim,’ said Acharya, one of the eight forensic dentistry experts in the country. Recalling his involvement as an expert in backdrop of the world wide attention the case had drawn, Dr Acharya, who hails from Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, said he received a call from Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, where the victim was admitted on December 17.
‘As our college has the only dental forensic laboratory in the country, the Delhi police approached us to help out in the case. I advised them to send photographs and Plaster of Paris (PoP) impressions of bite marks found on victim’s body, and PoP teeth models of all accused,’ Dr Achar recalled.
Police inspector Vishal Choudhary of the Delhi special investigation team arrived in Dharwad on January 3 and the tests were conducted in secrecy till January 7, and a report of 12 pages was handed over to him. ‘Then it was cross-examined by defence lawyer for one-and-half hour on May 6. Finally, the report was accepted in toto by the court,’ he explained.
In Mysore, Dr Achar’s father, Dr Balakrishna Achar who practices medicine in Kuvempunagar in Mysore, told dna: ‘Ashith was all excited about forensic dentistry, which is more an investigative science, but he took up the subject seriously and studied it in Adelaide University Australia becoming the first expert in that specialty.’
Delhi Gang Rape Timeline
Dec 16: A 23-year-old physiotherapy student is brutally raped in a bus in Delhi. Victim admitted to Safdarjung Hospital by the police.
Dec 17: Bus driver Ram Singh and two others arrested.
Dec 18: Public sentiment boils over leading to huge demonstrations as protesters clash with police at various places. Fourth accused arrested.
Dec 19: Doctors treating the girl comment about her unstable condition though she manages to communicate with docs by writing.
Dec 20: Students of various universities protest outside CM Sheila Dixit’s residence
Dec 21: The fifth accused, a juvenile is arrested and one of the culprits is identified by the victim’s male friend in Tihar. Delhi Police starts search operation in Haryana and Bihar for another accused. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital chairman offers victim free intestinal transplant, an offer which is considered a publicity stunt by many since the victim’s not stable enough for one
Dec 23: Delhi High Court sets up fast track court
Dec 24: PM Manmohan Singh requests people to keep calm and suffers a major faux paus as he’s heard off-camera asking people Thik Hai?
Dec 26: Government decides to fly victim to Singapore for further treatment which raises questions about whether she would survive the journey and why she wasn’t taken to a better facility in Delhi like AIIMS which is just around the corner.
Dec 27: She’s airlifted to Singapore
Dec 29: She succumbs to her injuries at 4:45 AM
Dec 30: Her body is flown back to Delhi
Jan 1: Special task-force to deal with women’s safety in Delhi icreated
Jan 3: A case of rape, murder, kidnapping, destruction of evidence, and attempted murder on the male victim is filed against all the five accused in the case.
Jan 5: Her friend gives an interview to Zee News which documents their ordeal including public and police apathy to their plight
Jan 9: The accused demand legal representation; lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma fights their case
Jan 10: Sharma declares victims were responsible for their predicament.
Jan 28: The Juvenile Justice Board declares that one of the six accused is a minor despite no strong evidence to suggest it. Age-testing is ruled out.
Feb 3: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, with suggestions from the Verma Committee Report introduced.
Feb 5: The trial starts
March 11: The main accused, Ram Singh is found hanging in his jail cell that he shared with two other accused.
April 4: One of the accused claims Tihar guards harassing him
April 11: Vinay’s counsel claims two of the accused were not present on the bus
May 1: Defence harasses male friend by claiming he’s a womaniser
May 10: Vinay and Akshay’s advocate AP Singh asks for male friend to undergo polygraph test
June 4: Juvenile accused turns 18 according to school certificate
July 11: Juvenile board defers judgement till July 25 to decide whether to try the minor in the case as an adult or a minor.
July 18: Supreme Court refuses to reduce the juvenile age to 16
August 31: Juvenile found guilty of rape and murder, sentenced to three years in a reform home.
September 9: Court finds other four accused guilty of rape and murder.
September 10: Delhi gang rape convicts to be sentenced on Friday.
September 13: Death penalty for all four involved in the attack