Midnapore: CBI on Monday filed charge sheet
against 23 people in connection with the May 28 Jnaneswari
Express disaster in West Midnapore district that left 148
CBI counsel Partha Tapaswi filed the 56-page charge
sheet before Chief Judicial Magistrate Narendranath Dasgupta
under sections 16 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention
Act and IPC sections 120 (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder),
307 (attempt to murder), 325 (causing grievous hurt), 340
Tapswai said of the 23 accused, six were absconding
while 17 were arrested.
The charge sheet did not include names of prime
accused former PCPA convenor Asit Mahto and Sasadhar Mahto,
brother of jailed former PCPA convenor Chhatradhar Mahto, as
CBI could not arrest them, he said.
The Jnaneswari Express disaster took place at 1.30 am
on May 28 between Sardiya and Khemasuli stations when 13
coaches derailed after pandrol clips on the tracks were
removed, with five of the derailed coaches hit by a goods
Investigations were initially carried out by CID. The
Centre ordered a CBI inquiry on June 2, which was demanded by
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that there was a
`political conspiracy` behind it.
Among the first to be arrested in the case was Laksman
Mahto from Kusumghati village in Jhargram police station area
in West Midnapore district on July 31.
Khagen Mahto, the owner of a pickup truck which
ferried the saboteurs was arrested from Kharagpur in the same
district on June 2.
Manik Mahto was arrested from Baripada in Orissa`s
Mayurbhanj district on July 6. Mahto, a history-sheeter, had
fled after the CBI announced a reward of Rs one lakh for prime
accused Bapi Mahto, PCPA convenor Asit Mahto and PCPA leader
Bapi Mahto was arrested from a guest house at
Adityapur near Jamshedpur in Jharkhand on July 16.
PCPA leaders, Tapan Mahto and Altab Hossain were
arrested from Manikpara in Jhargram police station area in
West Midnapore district on August 8.