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SIT Rajdhani probe finds rail at fault

The special investigation team (SIT) probing into the derailment of Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express last month has inferred that it was the fallout of technical fault because of the railways’ negligence.

The special team, constituted by the state government, came to the conclusion following scientific investigation into the derailment of the showpiece train between Chhapra Kacheri and Goldenganj stations under Sonepur railway division of the East Central Railway on June 25. Four passengers were killed and 21 suffered injuries in the mishap. Sushil Kumar, in the rank of additional superintendent of police, headed the probe team.

Saran superintendent of police (SP) Sudhir Kumar Singh said on Thursday that the report of the forensic examination ruled out the possibility of bomb blast on the railway tracks, which could have caused the derailment as claimed by the senior railway officers. “The SIT has come to the conclusion after samples of damaged fastening clips and pieces of rust-stained railway tracks were tested in the state forensic laboratory,” he said.

The SP clarified that no signs of blast or sabotage of the railway tracks were found in the forensic test, the report of which was received by the district authorities a couple of days ago. “The same sample would be sent to the National Metallurgical Laboratory at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand for tests after obtaining the requisite permission of the court concerned,” Singh told The Telegraph.

Singh, who was shifted to East Champaran late on Thursday evening, said the SIT had earlier recorded the statement of 45 railway employees, including the driver of the ill-fated train, guard, co-driver and permanent way inspector. “The findings of the SIT would be submitted to the court in a day or two,” he added.

The commissioner of railway safety of the East Central Railway, P.K. Vajpayee, is conducting a separate inquiry to ascertain the cause of the derailment of the train. The rail safety commissioner (central circle) visited the derailment site on June 28 and July 1.

“I also talked to the officials of the Government Railway Police and members of the special police team constituted by the Saran district administration,” Vajpayee had told a select group of reporters in Saran after his visit.

Vajpayee would submit his report to the civil aviation ministry, which would send the same to the chairman of the Railway Board and other departments concerned.

After his visits to the site, Vajpayee had refused to divulge any information related to the cause of the derailment. “It’s a confidential inquiry and I am not supposed to share the information with the reporters,” he had said in response to a query.

The state government, within no time, had denied the involvement of rebels in the Rajdhani derailment. Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had told reporters in Patna that preliminary investigation could not find any Maoist link to the accident.

Former minister and BJP MP from Chhapra Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who visited the derailment site, had apprehended that the Maoists could have planted bombs to blow up the tracks.