CBI to investigate Jnaneswari disaster: WB govt

Kolkata: The West Bengal government, which had initially declined Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's demand for a CBI inquiry into the May 28 Jnaneswari Express disaster, has decided to entrust the investigations to the premier agency.

"We have received the terms of reference for the CBI investigation. The probe will be handed over to the CBI," Home Secretary Samar Ghosh told newsmen.

A meeting between state administration representatives and CBI officials has been scheduled on June 11 to discuss the details of the investigations.

Noting that the government would issue the statutory notification for the CBI investigation in a day or two, DGP Bhupinder Singh said the ongoing probe by the CID would be discontinued following the CBI investigation.

He said that PCPA member Khagen Mahato, who was arrested by the CID in connection with the disaster that claimed 148 lives, would be handed over to the CBI once it takes up investigations.

The West Bengal government, which had held the Maoists responsible for the mishap had earlier ruled out a CBI inquiry as demanded by Banerjee, saying it was not necessary as the CID probe had progressed a great deal.

Banerjee had claimed that a 'political conspiracy' was behind the mishap.

The Centre announced a CBI inquiry on June 2, the day when Trinamool Congress won a landslide victory in the municipal elections in West Bengal.

The decision was taken as the incident had taken place on railway property and in such cases the concurrence of the state government was not required, it was said.