Jhargram/Kolkata: A day after the deadly Gyaneshwari express derailment, Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee on Saturday ruled out any sabotage and blamed it all on political conspirators even as the toll in the accident reached 141.
The Railway Minister, while addressing a press conference in Kolkata ahead of the West Bengal civic polls, said that the accident could be a consequence of political conspiracy.
But she refrained from naming any particular group responsible for the derailment of the ill fated train.
Describing the entire incident a heinous crime, Mamata Banerjee said that no mercy would be shown to those behind the incident. She also demanded a CBI probe to ascertain the real cause of the accident.
As Banerjee and arch rival CPI-M indulged in a blame game,
the train`s driver B K Das filed a FIR with the Government
Railway Police(GRP) unit in Jhargram in which he referred to
an explosion on the track when the Howrah-Kurla Lokmanya Tilak
Jnaneshwari Super Deluxe Express derailed in West Midnapore
district, about 150 kms from Kolkata at around 1:30 am.
The FIR was filed against "unidentified miscreants" under
sections 150 (maliciously wrecking or attempting to wreck a
train) and 151 (damage to or destruction of certain railway
properties) of the Railway Act but made no mention of Maoists.
Additional Director General Government Railway Police
(GRP) Dilip Mitra said the FIR appeared to be not adequate.
GRP comes under the jurisdiction of States.
"It is the duty of the West Bengal administration to find
out who is responsible," Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata in
remarks suggesting that Maoists, who have been blamed for the
disaster in their heartland, cannot be held responsible until
investigations are completed.
"From the Railway we have requested Union Home Ministry
for a CBI investigation into the incident since it was in
Jangalmahal where joint operation is on. We have already sent
a letter and the Centre has agreed to order it," she said.
Banerjee said she did not know who were behind it, but
"whoever did it, it was a political conspiracy. The accident
has happened two days before the (civic) election. One may be
politically against us, but I feel bad the way the incident
was engineered to fulfill one`s political interest.
"Those who have done this sabotage and played with so many
lives should not be pardoned," she said.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury rejected as unfortunate and
absurd Mamata`s claims pointing fingers at the Left party. The
claim was being done with tomorrow`s civic elections in mind,
Yechury said, adding Banerjee is trying to cover up her
Apparently referring to the police report that fish plates
were removed, Banerjee said, "I do not know from where this
story has come. The railway lines there were long-welded
railway lines which have no fish plates. She also said three
express trains had passed through the derailment spot before
the diaster at around 1.30 am yesterday.
With the recovery of 43 more bodies from the mangled
coaches till tonight, the death toll rose to 141, South
Eastern Railway sources said. The number of injured has been
put at 250 by officials. Several bodies were yet to be
West Midnapore District Magistrate N S Nigam said 62
bodies have been identified so far and handed over to
He said rescue work, halted because of rain, will
resume tomorrow, even as rescuers feared more bodies might be
The tracks could not be cleared till late in the evening
as the derailed coaches had not been removed.
The bodies were found after the engine of the goods train
was lifted with the help of cranes, the sources said.
As rescue teams tried to cut their way into sections of
the mangled wreckage, the toll would rise `substantially` as
more bodies could be there in the S-5 compartment, they said.
IG Police (Law and Order) S Karpurakayastha told agency in
Jhargram that the Maoist link in the derailment was clear, but
declined to say if more evidence pointing to it has been
Asked about whether there had been a blast prior to the
derailment, he said the forensic report was awaited.
With PTI inputs