New Delhi/Kolkata: The Centre today ordered
a CBI probe into Jnaneswari Express train disaster--a demand
made by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee--on a day when her
Trinamool Congress demolished the Left in West Bengal civic
Banerjee, a key UPA leader, appeared to have had her way
since the Left Front government in West Bengal, whose
concurrence was sought, had told the Centre it was not in
favour of a CBI probe.
The decision to go ahead with a CBI probe was taken as
the incident had taken place on railway property therefore not
requiring the concurrence of a state government in such cases,
an official said in New Delhi.
The derailment of the Howrah-Kurla train in Midanpore
last Saturday in which 148 passengers were killed has been
blamed on Maoists.
"We have decided to hand over the case to CBI under
Section 5 of Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, under
which the CBI functions," the official said.
During the investigation, the CBI will be helped by the
Central security agencies, Railway Protection Force and West
"Today the West Bengal government has conveyed to us that
they will cooperate in the investigation," the official said.
Banerjee welcomed Centre`s decision saying that truth
should come out.
"Whoever has done it, the culprits should be brought
to book. It is a heinous crime. The truth should come out,"
she said in Kolkata.
The West Bengal government said they only have been
informed about the Centre`s decision and that no formal
notification has been received yet.
"Our Chief Secretary (Ardhendu Sen) has received a phone
call from (Union Home Secretary) Mr G K Pillai informing him
about the CBI enquiry. But, we have not received any formal
notification yet," Home Secretary Samar Ghosh told newsmen.
DGP Bhupinder Singh said the ongoing investigation
by the CID would continue till the notification from the Union
Home Ministry was received.
Banerjee had alleged that there was a political
conspiracy hinting at rival CPI-M behind the train derailment
and said this could be unearthed only through a CBI probe.
However, the West Bengal government said a CBI probe was
not required after its views were sought by the Union Home
"The CID probe has progressed a great deal and the state
government does not feel that a parallel inquiry is
necessary," Home Secretary Samar Ghosh on Monday.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had said that the
needle of suspicion points to Maoists or front organisations
of CPI Maoists.
The Section 5 of Delhi Police Special Establishment Act
says that the Central Government may by order extend to any
area (including Railways areas), 1[in 2[a State, not being a
Union territory]] the powers and jurisdiction of member of the
Delhi Special Police Establishment for the investigation of
any offences or classes of offences.