Pathankot attack
Pathankot Attack: Parliamentary panel finds fault with counter-terror security establishment. Picture: Soilders inside the Pathankot Air Force base that was attacked by militants on Jan. 5, 2016.IANS

Forensic reports have failed to validate the central government's claims that the charred remains recovered from the Airmen's Billet at the Pathankot Air Force base were of two unidentified terrorists, according to the Indian Express.

The daily acquired the forensic reports of the tests done by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Chandigarh and took assistance of Indian and international experts to examine it.

The forensic reports revealed male DNA was found in the remains, but do not indicate the number of individuals the generic material came from, according to the investigation by the IE. It did not confirm that the material came from two discrete men. The test instead revealed the charred remains contained generic material from multiple individuals.

All that the forensic reports stated was "the burnt mass material belongs to human male." There was no reference as to whether the charred remains came from individuals who were killed during the fire engagement. Neither did it identify the parts of the human body from where the charred material came.

The test report did not include a record of what alleles were found in which samples. "The report should normally have recorded these things carefully... This would enable investigators to know if the charred material is from two, three, or N number of people, and check for the sources of the contamination," K Thangaraj, a senior scientist at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, said.

Director of the Glasgow-based Forensic Institute and one of the world's leading experts on DNA forensics Allan Jamieson told the IE these claims "are just preposterous," going by the CFSL report that does not tell us "anything about the people other than their gender."

On the contrary, Union home minister Rajnath Singh in March had told Parliament that the CFSL report (which had not been made public then) clearly established that the burnt material found in the Airmen's Billet building were of two terrorists, who were reportedly killed by the National Security Guard.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had reportedly asked for tests of the burnt material. They had failed to recover weapons, explosives or ammunition from inside the Airmen Billet.

The Pathankot Air Force base was attacked on Jan. 2 and the confrontation between the security personnel and the attackers lasted for about 72 hours. At least seven security personnel were reportedly killed. According to the home ministry, four bodies of the attackers were retrieved from the site of the attack, while two others were charred to death at Airmen's Billet.