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Couples take lie-detector test to save their marriage


CHENNAI: Call it the new age agnipariksha’. What Ram did to Sita, an increasing number of young urbanites are doing to their spouses: Approaching private forensic labs for polygraph (lie detection) tests to resolve suspicions of infidelity. These bold young couples find it the best bet as they openly air their suspicions and want a workable solution for a functional marriage.

Truth Labs, the only chain of such private labs, run by a non-profit foundation comprising forensic experts from several investigating agencies across the country, will open its Chennai branch on Saturday. “When we started Truth Labs in Hyderabad in 2007 and Delhi in 2009, we used to get about 20 such clients a year. Now the numbers have doubled and we have done more than 180 polygraph tests on men and women, who volunteer to undergo the test to come out clean. We are happy that 90% of the tests have proved the innocence of the subjects and so many families have been rescued from the brink of disaster,” says Gandhi PC Kaza, former director of AP Forensic Science Laboratories and founder member of Truth Labs. The chain does the maximum work for corporates, banks and insurance companies to crack white-collar crimes.

“The test has an accuracy of 95%, but does not work on seasoned criminals and psychopaths,” he adds. Relationship experts, however, don’t think such tests will always help salvage marriages. “It may only help temporarily. If a man asks his wife to undergo such a test to prove her fidelity, the relationship would eventually break,” says sexologist Dr D Narayana Reddy.

But for Kaza, it is the truth that matters. He recollects a recent case in Mumbai, when a woman was proved to be innocent after her father-in-law had forced sex with her. “Her husband had seen his father coming out of her room and he thought she was having an affair with him. It threatened to shatter the entire family. The woman volunteered for a polygraph test and rescued her marital life,” he says.

The test, which takes about three hours, is done by reading the breathing pattern and the galvanic skin resistance of the subject while answering a set of nine questions. No injections or chemicals are given as in a narco analysis.

Truth Labs, which has so far worked on 1,500 cases, also receives requests for DNA testing. “There are cases of people coming with stained clothes to know if they are caused by semen,” says Kaza.

K Ragothaman, former CBI officer and chief investigation officer in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, says private forensic labs will get a large clientele as people are reluctant to approach the police and government agencies. “Only 20% of the needy approach the police. Private labs managed by professionals and experts are more reliable and work faster,” he says.

Truth Labs, which has tied up with reputed institutions like the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Delhi, and the National Law School of India, Bangalore, offers a variety of other forensic services, including document verification, fingerprinting, cyber forensics and crime scene investigation. It promises to deliver all kinds of test results within a week for fees of Rs 5,000.

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