Moved to

It was on 25 JAN 09. The TEAM DOLBY was ready to Rock off to WAYANAD.

We 17 Boys where on a Trip which was scheduled for Two Nights and One Day, due to some constraints of time we have to make it short. We were only able to see some of the nice places at WAYANAD.

First we went to the Edakkal Caves, and in the Evening we were enjoying at Soochippaara Water Falls. When we were at Pookode Lake it was closing time and we could n’t go for the ride. Later in the Evening we enjoyed the FLOWER SHOW at Kalpetta and a Greta CAMP FIRE at the Base. Late Night We returned with the hope of coming back to WAYANAD once again to catch the all other beauties….. of Land.


He was walking so fast that i have to adjust the Camera two times to take the shot.

We reached at Lakkidi around 5:30 AM still too early, I started search for getting rooms for us to get fresh, but as it was 3days off week, in which the Republic Day was part, all Hotels and Inns where full. Finally after getting down around 8-9 places we reached Kalpetta. We were able to check in at a Small Inn for getting fresh. They gave us 2 hrs time, which was ok for us to get a good start. Around 7:50 we were out to some Coffee shop nearby.

I took this at Kalpetta, after getting fresh, all were ready for the first spot.


Off we got to the Land of Beauty.

Fr. Roy (Prayer)

We reached the Edakkal Caves, around 9:30 AM and as we have n’t taken any breakfast, we started the preparation for the same.

We have carried the Gas stove and the pots for preperation and also the good cooks where always with US  🙂

Saji was on Anchor, while Shinto is asking when it will be ready..

All were helping the TEAM and was hungry as it was already 9:00 AM and we have to start the Ride up.

The big water storage.

While all were busy cooking some have side business, one Bunch of Banana was finished while talking and Freejo Carries the rest.

Talks in the middle of cooking. Majo.

“Breakfast ready aakumbozhekkum kurachu vellam kudikkam”

In thoughts….

As soon as we finished breakfast we started to move to the Entrance of the Edakkal caves.

Guys we have a long way to walk…….

“ee thoppi kollaamallo… “

EDAKKAL HERMITAGE – Navigation sign


Edakkal caves lies 12km from SulthanBathery Two caves are located at a height of 1000 m on Ambukutty Mala near Ambalavayal.The New Stone Age pictorical writings on the walls of these natural caves at Edakkal are evidence of the civilisation that existed in these regions in prehistorical times. The caves can be accessed only by a 1 km trekking trial from Edakkal.Morning hours are the best time to visit the caves.Entry is permitted only up to 1700 hrs.

“Edakkal” literally means “a stone in between”, and this describes how the cave is formed by a heavy boulder straddling a fissure in the rock. Inside the cave is on two levels, the lower chamber measures about 18 feet long by 12 feet wide and 10 feet high and can be entered through an opening of 5 x 4 feet .’Edakkal Caves’at Ambukuthy near Ambalavayal is belived to be the abode of Neolithic man. The Edakkal cave site is on an ancient route connecting the high rangs of Mysore to the ports of Malabar. A passage opposite the entrance leads upward to a small aperture in the roof through which one climbs up to the next storey whose interior is about 96 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 18 feet high. Light enters the cave through a big gap at the right-hand corner of the roof where the boulder does not touch the facing wall.

The writings and carving on the walls of Edakkal rocks are very rare and historians testify that it is the only one in its kind in all south india where there was the presence of stone age man.

Source :

It was too crowded as on the 26 JAN 09 and we have to struggle to get to the top of the Caves. There are two sections in this route, First one people goes till the Caves where the stone age man lived and the carvings exists and the other one is beyond that upto a Mountain of height 5000Ft. which only can be climbed in good conditions and with great difficulty. Anyways we where determined to go to the Edges, and we went all the way up to 5000Ft.

While on climb – towards Edakkal Caves.

We have reached here ahead…

Boys for a pose.

Walking the 1.5 Km to the Caves Entrace

Edakkal Caves

Welcome to the neolithic cavesite of Edakkal
The fascinating prehistoric rock etchings found on the walls of these caves have drawn the serious attention of archeologists and historians worldwide. With at least three distinct sets of petroglyphs, the earliest thought to date back over 5000 years, it is assumed that the Edakkal caves had been inhabited at various stages in history. The name “Edakkal” literally means “a stone in between”, and this describes how the cave is formed by a heavy boulder straddling a fissure in the rock. Inside the cave is on two levels, the lower chamber measures about 18 feet long by 12 feet wide and 10 feet high and can be entered through an opening of 5 x 4 feet. A passage opposite the entrance leads upward to a small aperture in the roof through which one climbs up to the next storey whose interior is about 96 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 18 feet high. Light enters the cave through a big gap at the right-hand corner of the roof where the boulder does not touch the facing wall. Legends of the Caves The name Ambukuthimala is ascribed to the local legend which has it that the caves were formed by arrows fired by Lava and Kusha, the sons of Sri Rama, legendary hero of the Ramayana.Even today there are many who believe that Lord Rama killed Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, in the narrow fissure at the southern end of Edakkal cave. A local legend associates Kutti Chatan (the little devil of Malabar) with the goddess Mudiampilli, and until recently local people undertook an annual pilgrimage to the peak of the hill to perform a puja (ritual offering) in her honour. The Colonial Discovery of the Caves On a hunting trip to Wayanad in 1890, Fred- Fawcett, the then superintendent of police of the Malabar District, happened to see a Neolithic Celt (stone axe or chisel) recovered from the coffee estate of Colin Mackenzie. An enthusiast in prehistory, Fawcett made local enquiries and went round exploring the Wayanad high ranges. In the course of his rambles he was shown the Edakkal rock-shelter situated on the western side of Edakkalmala. He identified the site as a habitat of Neolithic (i.e. late Stone Age, c4000BC to c1700BC) people on the basis of the nature of representations on the cave walls, which appeared to him as engravings made of Neolithic Celts. It was an exciting discovery, as these were the first specimens of abraded drawings found in India. Tribal Peoples & the Caves Fawcett suggested the possibility that the carvings might have been the handiwork of Kurumbars (a tribal people of the Wayanad). He writes, "The curious reluctance of the Kurumbars to approach the Cave, combined with the simultaneous want of reverence for it both on the part of the Paniyas and the local Hindus, who are very small in numbers and not Iong resident in the Wayanad, might tempt one to hazard the theory as to the carvings being the handiwork of Kurumbars of a bygone day". Nevertheless he utters a word of caution as follows. "It should, however, be remembered that the Paniya is a particularly fearless individual while the Kurumbar is the reverse. The mere existence of the mysterious carvings in the silent, unfrequented cave would suffice to inspire the Kurumbar with a kind of awe and make him terrified to have anything to do with it” .

Robin While Climbing up

Through the narrow gaps of the Cave

Rojan, Majo and Geo.

Climbing is very tough as most of the areas its a single way and one sides passage gets blocked when the other side are passing, so we need to adjust to go up and down.

While we energetic boys where using unconventional routes and paths, people where struggling even to go through some of the easiest ways.

This is one of the big rocks which is sitting in between the two.

This was shot reaching half the way to the caves.

We went straight to the top of the Mountain, Alwin going through a narrow passage to reach the other side of the Mountain.

We reached the base of the big mountain. Now we were 1200Ft from sea level and we have to go and reach the top at 5000Ft.

We started climbing while Alwin was almost exhausted.

Even girls has climbed this far. We were around 1700Ft on top.

It took some time to cover each rocks as it was steep and more people were on the climb.

While on the climb we can see people on the other side of the Mountain, I think most where local people.

There was some ropes and ladders put on to help the climb.

We were almost there on top, I can not believe it. Was Really Really Tough.

Some of the shots took from the TOP.

On top at 5000Ft.

Now I think he is thinking about how to get down this height…

Its really cool to sit here for some time and thoughts flashes through.

Hey thats me on TOP

5000 Ft high, the highest peak I have ever climbed in life….. Wow.

Rojan and Kutts accompanied me and helped me to get to the top as I was having all the things with me to carry.

Finally I was down to the base, which i don’t know how I came down.

It took 1 hr and 25mins for us to climb the 3700ft and more time to get down to the vehicle.

We took lunch after the Edakkal Caves and all very hungry, we continued the journey. This is taken in one of the TEA PLANTATION EN ROUTE












We reached soochipaara around 3PM and the travel was little long around 22Km from Meppadi.

Though  there was less water in the Falls, it was good for a bath and it was ICE COLD and I can see the guys shivering.

Majo in front of the Falls.

Water Splash



Its me………………..


It was beautiful, the Dense forest and still not much explored places.

We took a coffee break at 4:10 PM

Around 4:40 we returned from Soochippara and we planned to go to Pookkode Lake, we reached the lake late as we got some block in between and as the Park will close at 6:00PM we were not able to enter inside. So we were checking the other options for the time. We planned to got o Kalpetta  as the Flower show was going on and also the CAMP FIRE Arranged.

We were impressed by the efforts done from the Tourism Promotion and WAYANAD District Official for the Show.

A Musical Night

Flowers all the way.

Later in the evening we arranged for a CAMP FIRE, and enjoyed with Party mood.

All were around the fire.

This is called the “KOLKALI” play with the stick.. ha ha


Finally we started the journey back around 12:20 am 27th Morning and was tired. All were sleeping and We reached home back by 5:50 am. It was blazing fast……

We loved the trip and was hoping that we should have taken more time for the trip. It takes at least 3days to roam around in WAYANAD and we were happy that at least we made to there. It was a 620KM Total Trip.


It was a Friday 16 JAN,09 and I decided to explore the natural beauty. For the past sometime I was thinking to visit the Vellikulangara Forest range and as I do not have much  knowledge about the place even though its near to my home ( 20Kms). So I took the day off and started on my Kinetic towards the Forest,  Alwin accompanied and we were with some preparation, as it may take 5-6 hours to fully escape to the forest.

We were just reaching the Forest Area.

Through the Rubber Trees. As it was winter the trees were without leaves

Top View

Rubber Plantation

Long view from the Top 

We walked through this road for around 2kms and returned.

As we were walking along the stream we saw some fresh droppings 

of the elephant and we were worried, still we walked for another Km

Alwin was looking around as some sound came from the trees.

Adipoli Aadivaasi Style ….

After reaching the top, we entered to a Plantation area and we have to 

take the diversion from here.

Its a good view from here..

What is he doing there on top of the Rock

Eda … Erangi Vaada..

We were travelling along the stream as we were not sure of the roads



This was a Double headed snake, I think as it was looking at me with both

the heads up…??

We walked along this route to reach the Tribal Colony at KARIKADAVU

Even it was in the middle of the day, I was bit cautious, after seeing the

droppings at the first halt. 

We were reaching the KARIKADAVU Tribal colony

Some of the houses made for the Tribal People

We were entering to the Forest through the Rubber Plantation.

It was not easy to walk through the dense forest.

We don’t have enough courage to walk much through this route as it was too steep to continue.

We took a snap here.

The Journey to the top starts here…
Walking through the Rop Bridge..
Aaattalle .. Aaattalle … Thaazhe Pokum.
On top of the Bridge
On top of the Bridge

Is this bridge ok to walk …
On the bridge..

View from the top.
Alwin through the Trees
A view of an OWL on top of the tree.
A tall tree in front of us …
A Green View from the top
Through the Forest 
Green Forest
Resting for a moment.
On top of the ROCK and full of BAMBOO trees


I am standing inside the Tree, the hole was so big.
Alwin standing near the tall tree.

Haha, its so bigggg…

Alwin on a Tree, Different steps taken to climb and sit comfortably… Like who…???

We made a trip to Explore the beauty of the Forest, Vellikulangara range and it was worth exploring, though we didn’t get much time, but we enjoyed….

Mary of Mount Carmel Church Chengaloor  (map) Celebrates the Feast of Saint Sebastian on January 21st 22nd. So this year also we all made it a memorable Feast. As most of my friends, ie; our TEAM DOLBY are in UAE, we have decided to fly back for Perunal and make it a wonderful gathering.


Its mainly celebrated in Syro Malabar Hierarchy, especially in Thrissur District and some parts of Ernakulam and Palakkad. The Feast is colorful and its also known as “PINDIPERUNAL” as the feasts main attraction is the Banana Tree  Decorated with different colors and patterns of Paper .

The beautiful White and Pink Pindi at Varghese Peppans House

This is the Normal Pindi which is the Plain style of Pindis

Its really colorful and sometimes you wonder seeing the decorations by many Parishioners and its a pride symbol. So most of the houses will be having a nicely decorated Banana Tree in front. Also there will be fireworks and the first day of the feast is the “AMBU” day on which the symbolic of the Saints Martyrdom ie, the “ARROW” circulated among the houses in a Manner to honour the Saint.

Yellow Orange is Good also, Sajis Home

Another White and Orange Pindi at Lazar Chettan’s House

Jose Chettans Special Ribbon Pindi

All Colourful Pindi

It emerged like this also and its an art form Pindi at Joseph Chettans House

Great in Colours and Style, one of Roadside Pindies

Great Effort and Looks very Nice tooo…

Ohhhhh Colors and Beauty, Perfect combination…

So hope you enjoyed watching the different style PINDIS and now we are going to start the Celebrations of the Feast and all ready. 

The Alter has been painted with More Colors and its looking good

Chengaloor Parishioners are proud of our JESUS CHRIST, as it is the most lively looking Jesus I have seen in and  around my Diocese.

The EAST SIDE of the Church, this has not been changed from the old church.

There has been new ceiling in place and its looks now more neat

All are busy with the Decorations for Tomorows Feast, I was just happy that the feast is here.

A Long view of the ALTER

Side View from WEST

Decorations…. and church will be looking very beautiful tomorrow

The new Grotto being build near the Church, its in the WEST side of the church.

I was roaming around friends places, grabbing the possible shots from all angles, and while we were at Alwins home, I met with Junior Melbin. He is Cutee.. Looks same as his Pappa.

Alwin with Junior Melbin.

So the fire was ignited for the PERUNAL Programs as our enthusiasm, I used to visit home every year and mostly will be able to participate both Christmas and St.Sebastians feast together, but for many of my friends it was a 2-3 year long awaiting and they were really full of energy for this feast.

Saji was busy with preparing some beef and pork , and we were waiting the things to get ready so we can finish it.

Alwin was on the Rubber Tree of Jose Master to fix a Halogen Lamp there, but as the Govt. has implemented strict restrictive measures for using the decorative lights as the Power consumption especially during the Festive season becomes high, and the production does not meet the requirement, he was looking around for the Electricity guys, who used to route march, especially during these days. 

On the back we were having a chit chat as it was long time since we all got together.

Its in the Evening the Night Ambu has started and this time there was less AMBU’s in the evening 

All were accompanying the AMBU

Theru, with Iluminations and Color Umbrellas along with BAND are essentials in AMBU


Now it was BOYS turn and all were involved in the Celebration

BANDS Performing near the WEST ENTRANCE of the Chruch

BANDS Performing near the WEST ENTRANCE of the Chruch

BANDS Performing near the WEST ENTRANCE of the Chruch

BANDS Performing near the WEST ENTRANCE of the Chruch

In the Tunes ………….  

On the Perunal Day there was a Music Program arranged from the church

For Perunal night there was Fireworks, we also took part and made the celebrations wondrful with crackers of 65cases which was fired infront of the church. As I was busy with some projector settings and preparations for the crackers, was not able to get any Photos, but soon will be posting the full length Videos of the same in the last session.

Music Program

Boys having fun after the Feast Night around 12:30 AM

All together


Was a Great Perunal

At Midnight all were ready to enjoy the Creams served, it was 5 Litres which was vanished in 10min time.

Photos from St. Sebastians Feast at Mary of Mount Carmel Church Chengaloor 

All the Pictures of Ambu and Perunal Day.  Hope you all enjoys the Pictures..


It was a great evening and I was hoping to go out to my nearby hill station which I was was n’t able to visit last time on my vacation. I was waiting for my sister to come back from her office to accompany me.


So around 5:50 we started our journey towards the hill. It was just 12 Mins on bike from my home and we parked the bike down the hill, and started climbing up as fast as we can. It was getting late and I knew this is the time to get some nice snaps, if missed then I may not be able to visit again this time.


So less photos of the climbing scene, this is the first photo of the route which guides straight to a Quarry, its not alive now and full of green “Payals”

The Quarry – There are actually 2 Quarries and both are in active presently. It filled with the green Payals

This rock stands in the middle and its there from the time I have been to this place.

Aleena near the First Quarry

This is the view of the First Quarry from the Top, Its deep covers a large area

This is known as “Mullanpazham” in our native and when its ready to eat it becomes black, its just fun chewing this, so we started plucking the same and I forgot for a while the intension of our trip.

While she was settling with the Mullanpazham, I walked to the other side to grab some snaps.

There are two Kilowatt Lines passing through this are, I think is the main lines which passes electricity through some of areas in Kerala, 110 KV and 220KV lines, there is a little “boom” sound some times.

She was carrying my tripod quickly to the top, as I was hurrying to take the SUNSET shots, saying  ” Hey its going down so fasttt………..”

We took some quick shots and it was nice, the sun was really going down pretty fast.

How nice SUNSET.

Cool to be here and to shoot this in  an evening which you will definitely hopes to happen so often. 

Ho almost gone…..

The close views of the KV lines passing

Its almost getting dark after the sun is down.

Our tripod was on duty, while we took the side of a Rock

Me just jumped to the top of the rock, while my camera was struggling to get the press from my remote.

The Electric lines passes through this are and its near the Church and going over our Schools Play ground.

If looked closely you can see three objects in this frame, One Star, One Jet and a Flight going.

Its going to be dark soon, and we need to move down.

Some Red light you can see in the picture, which is a mobile tower near by.

Oh its dark.. We took the mobiles to lightup, times up, ….

We Enjoyed 2Hours Evening at Mattumala, Just to take some snaps and see the Sunset. Was Great. We were descending the hill around 7:10 PM, was worried bit about the route as it was filled with rocks and may get slippery. But we reached the base safely.

This Vacation I was able to attend so many functions and most of them was filled with cute babies, Baptism of my cousins babies.

Baby Lional  – Liga and Sony’s Baby Boy’s Baptism Photos 

Blessings to enter the church

Preparation for the Baptism 

Liga Sony Laniya and baby  with Babuchachan Ruby Aunty and Libin

Liga and Sony with Appachan and Ammachi

Jaison and Family with Baby

These are some of the Photos taken  before





Photos from Josuttans Holy Baptism on 28 DEC 2008


It was on 03 JAN 2009 we planned a trip to Ilaveezhapoonchira, the place was unknown to most of our family members and even to the Bus people, I have done some search on Google and came to know about the place.  The place is in Kottayam District of Kerala, around 17Km far from Thodupuzha.

The beautiful valley of Ilaveezhapoonchira spreads across thousands of acres in the district of Kottayam. Located at the foot of the hillocks of Mankunnu, Kudayathur Hill and Thonippara near Kanjar, Ilaveezhapoonchira has no trees, and is literally a place where leaves do not fall. This is because the valley fills up into a lake during the monsoons.The surrounding hillocks, each rising to about 3200 ft, make this place an ideal spot for trekking. During the monsoons the place has an entirely different ambience and offers gorgeous views of both sunrise and sunset.

For the sake of the tourists, a tourist bungalow with rooms and dormitory to accommodate 15 people has been constructed. The other tourist spots are Thommankuthu FallsKurisumalaVagamon, Marumala and waterfalls of Pazhukkakanam.

Ilaveezhapoonchira is 55 km from Kottayam and 17 km from Thodupuzha. Buses ply from Pala and Erattupetta. A DTPC rest house in the vicinity offers comfortable accommodation. Kottayam Railway Station and Cochin International Airport are the nearest railway station and airport.


The Name : Ilaveezhapoonchira

According to a legend, the Pandavas had a sojourn here during their life incognito. Their wife, Draupadi, came to take a bath at a lake, which was here at that time. Some devas, bewitched by her beauty, tried to satisfy their voyeuristic itch. King of devas, Lord Indra, came to know about what was going on, and built screens or hills heaping flowers and prevented them from indulging in such a practice. And the pond thus became a dam isolated by floral hills. Since there were no trees around the bund it was always free of leaves and so it was called Ilaveezhapoonchira or the floral bund where the leaves never fall. 

The main attractions are the Ride of 7 Km to top in 4wheel drive (Jeep), 3Km walk to the Hill Station, and the beautiful view from the top of the hill, which is 3200Ft high.

You can  see 7 Districts in KERALA from here, and there is also a big cave which can accommodate around 50 people inside.

At the spot you can view four hillocks and between them a verdant valley. Atop of one of these hills, Kudayathoor Vindhyan, one can view large parts of Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur districts; it also offers excellent views of sunrise and sunset.


We started our tour around 6:45 from Chengaloor, my native in Thrissur Dist, and took NH47 straight to reached Angamaly, and took diversion on  SH1 to Mattoor, around 8:25Am we reached Mattoor and from there our President of the Tour Mr. Anto K.C boarded the bus.
We took a small break at Perumbavoor for break fast around 8:45AM and resumed the Journey in 25Mins
This is the navigation sign on the main road pointing to ILAVEEZHAPOONCHIRA 7KM
Photo taken from Bus while taking the upwards route of 7KM to Ilaveezhapoonchira.
This is the last area where the  buses can come, ahead there was some construction going and we have to stop the bus here and take the  “NADARAJA” ie; we thought of walking the rest, as we were not sure how long  was the top station.
We can only see the zigzag road ahead, boys started climbing instantly but we know that Moms and Aunts would n’t go much far. So we took…
Mr. President enquiring to local people regarding the possibilities of travel to top.
Oh just after 600Mtrs Climb they have started to rest for the time, so..
While we are down the valley we can see the beauty of the Mountain from here itself, it looked sooooooo far.
We took a Jeep 4Wheel which came across and asked him whether he can carry 21 People to the Top, he agreed and it was Sebastian Chettan’s vehicle, so we rushed in and started the upwards climb, as we 5 were hanging around the body just like monkeys, we really enjoyed.
We can see each turn and roads clear and look around, my brother was shooting even with one hand with his mobile while on the side of the vehicle, I was having trouble hanging with one hand to the Jeep and I held the metal bars with 2 hands and wasn’t able to even take the camera to my hand.
But the 7Km ride was fantastic and memorable for a long time.
Catholic church in the route.
This was our first Rock climb after we reached the top by Jeep and from here around 3 Km to top and we have to walk that distance.
We took another break after 1KM walk and this will be the point [BASE STATION] where some of the elder members will be staying as the rest of the climb is difficult for them so we took some snacks and kept one water jug with us for the rest of the journey and one was in this base.
Antony took a small break to a higher rock and was sitting there for sometime 
Bijoy accompanying Antony on top 
Sr. Rosemary distributing the snacks
Ready for the rest of the climb..
A great view from the base station
Lush Greenery of the Valleys
Princy Aunty Walking Alone
Greenery all around
You can see in this the  highest peak which is around 3200Ft high from sea level
Almost on top of the mountain and we can see the beauty

Another Short break at one of the big rocks..
From this shot you can see the road is mostly made of the stone which are round in shape and very difficult even for the 4Wheels to travel. 
On the right we found some Rubber Plantations
Libin just found some shade and it was a nice shot
Another 4Wheel passed us while we were on the climb.
Some of the local people collecting grass.
We are almost there..
After reaching the top we took the right way to the PEAK where it was the VIEW POINT of 7 Districts and a Govt. Wireless station stand. It was around 1.5Km walk, but we all were tired.
The views from here to any side is CLASSIC as its only us in the top and we can see everything from here..
Aunty saying “I’m tired please give  a helping hand”

On the top, you can see the wireless towers on back
Oh great shot on the top of Ilaveezhapoonchira 


Bijoy helping Animol to reach the top
The view from here you can see the catchment area of DAM and the roads.
On the far you can see the PEAK and two building which is part of DTPC buildings
At Threseamma Chechi’s desk we took some Lemon water and we really enjoyed the Cool Water.
Threaseamma Chechi serving us cool water
We started our downward journey around 1:47 PM 
Lunch break at base. Around 3:00PM we took the lunch.
All were hungry and lunch were ready at base.
As soon as lunch was served they disappeared to the near by Rubber Plantation to enjoy.
The UMMAMM FLOWER at the base station.
We were not able to visit the Great Cave (Muniyara) as it was little far and all were tired, so we kept it for next trip.
Photos taken by . Binoy Anto
Original Photos can be found here

India’s use of brain scans in courts dismays critics

Now, well before any consensus on the technology’s readiness, India has become the first country to convict someone of a crime relying on evidence from this controversial machine: a brain scanner that produces images of the human mind in action and is said to reveal signs that a suspect remembers details of the crime in question.

For years, scientists have peered into the brain and sought to identify deception. They have shot infrared beams through liars’ heads, placed them in giant magnetic resonance imaging machines and used scanners to track their eyeballs. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States has plowed money into brain-based lie detection in the hope of producing more fruitful counterterrorism investigations.

The technologies, generally regarded as promising but unproved, have yet to be widely accepted as evidence — except in India, where in recent years judges have begun to admit brain scans. But it was only in June, in a murder case in Pune, in Maharashtra State, that a judge explicitly cited a scan as proof that the suspect’s brain held “experiential knowledge” about the crime that only the killer could possess, sentencing her to life in prison.

Psychologists and neuroscientists in the United States, which has been at the forefront of brain-based lie detection, variously called India’s application of the technology to legal cases “fascinating,” “ridiculous,” “chilling” and “unconscionable.” (While attempts have been made in the United States to introduce findings of similar tests into court cases, these generally have been by defense lawyers trying to show the mental impairment of the accused, not by prosecutors trying to convict.)

Whatever American scientists think, law enforcement officials from several countries, including Israel and Singapore, have shown interest in the brain-scanning technology and have visited government labs that use it in interrogations, Indian officials said.

Methods of eliciting truth have long proved problematic. Truth drugs tend to make suspects babble as much falsehood as truth. Polygraph tests measure anxiety more than deception, and good liars may not feel anxious. In 1998, the United States Supreme Court said there was “simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable.”

This latest Indian attempt at getting past criminals’ natural defenses begins with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, in which electrodes are placed on the head to measure electrical waves. The suspect sits in silence, eyes shut. An investigator reads aloud details of the crime — as prosecutors see it — and the resulting brain images are processed using software built in Bangalore.

The software tries to detect whether, when the crime’s details are recited, the brain lights up in specific regions — the areas that, according to the technology’s inventors, show measurable changes when experiences are relived, their smells and sounds summoned back to consciousness. The inventors of the technology claim the system can distinguish between peoples’ memories of events they witnessed and between deeds they committed.

The Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature test, or BEOS, was developed by Champadi Raman Mukundan, an Indian neuroscientist who formerly ran the clinical psychology department of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore. His system builds on methods developed at American universities by other scientists, including Emanuel Donchin, Lawrence Farwell and J. Peter Rosenfeld.

Despite the technology’s promise — some believe it could transform investigations as much as DNA evidence has — experts in psychology and neuroscience were almost uniformly troubled that it was used to win a criminal conviction before being validated by any independent study and reported in a respected scientific journal.

Publication of data from testing of the scans would allow other scientists to judge its merits — and the validity of the studies — during peer reviews.

“Technologies which are neither seriously peer-reviewed nor independently replicated are not, in my opinion, credible,” said Rosenfeld, a psychologist and neuroscientist at Northwestern University and one of the early developers of electroencephalogram-based lie detection. “The fact that an advanced and sophisticated democratic society such as India would actually convict persons based on an unproven technology is even more incredible.”


After passing an 18-page promotional dossier about the BEOS test to a few of his colleagues, Michael Gazzaniga, a neuroscientist and director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said: “Well, the experts all agree. This work is shaky at best.”

None of these experts have met the Indian inventors and the investigators using the test. One British forensic psychologist who has met them said he found the presentation highly convincing.

“According to the cases that have been presented to me, BEOS has clearly demonstrated its utility in providing admissible evidence that has been used to assist in the conviction of defendants in court,” Keith Ashcroft, a frequent expert witness in the British courts, said in an e-mail message.

Two states in India, Maharashtra and Gujarat, have been impressed enough to set up labs using BEOS for their prosecutors.

Sunny Joseph, a state forensic investigator in Maharashtra who used to work with Mukundan as a researcher on BEOS in Bangalore, said the test’s results were highly reliable. He said Mukundan had done extensive testing, as had the state.

Here in Maharashtra, about 75 crime suspects and witnesses have undergone the test since late 2006. But the technique received its strongest official endorsement, forensic investigators here say, on June 12, when a judge convicted a woman of murder based on evidence that included polygraph and BEOS tests.

The woman, Aditi Sharma, was accused of killing her former fiancé, Udit Bharati. They were living in Pune when Sharma met another man and eloped with him to Delhi. Later Sharma returned to Pune and, according to prosecutors, asked Bharati to meet her at a McDonald’s. She was accused of poisoning him with arsenic-laced food.

Sharma, 24, agreed to take a BEOS test in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra. (Suspects may be tested only with their consent, but forensic investigators say many agree because they assume it will spare them an aggressive police interrogation.)

After placing 32 electrodes on Sharma’s head, investigators said, they read aloud their version of events, speaking in the first person (“I bought arsenic;” “I met Udit at McDonald’s”), along with neutral statements like “The sky is blue,” which help the software distinguish memories from normal cognition.

For an hour, Sharma said nothing. But the relevant nooks of her brain where memories are thought to be stored buzzed when the crime was recounted, according to Joseph, the state investigator. The judge endorsed Joseph’s assertion that the scans were proof of “experiential knowledge” of having committed the murder, rather than just having heard about it.

In the only other significant judicial statement on BEOS, a judge in 2006 in Gujarat denied the test the status of “concluded proof” but wrote that it corroborated already solid evidence from other sources.

In writing his opinion on the Pune murder case, Judge S. S. Phansalkar-Joshi included a nine-page defense of BEOS.

Sharma insists that she is innocent.

Even as the debate continues over using scans to trip up obfuscators, researchers are developing new uses for the technology. No Lie MRI, a company in California, promises on its Web site to use the scans to help with developing interpersonal trust and military intelligence, among other tasks. In August, a committee of the National Research Council in Washington predicted that, with greater research, brain scans could eventually aid “the acquisition of intelligence from captured unlawful combatants” and “the screening of terrorism suspects at checkpoints.”

“As we enter more fully into the era of mapping and understanding the brain, society will face an increasing number of important ethical, legal and social issues raised by these new technologies,” Greely, the Stanford bioethicist, and his colleague Judy Illes wrote last year in the American Journal of Law & Medicine.

If brain scans are widely adopted, they added, “the legal issues alone are enormous, implicating at least the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, the potential benefits to society of such a technology, if used well, could be at least equally large.”

Source : 

Int. Herald Tribune

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