Locomotive sale finger at railway engineer in Bihar
A railway engineer in Bihar allegedly sold two-metre gauge locomotives after forging documents and is now on the run to evade arrest.
Railway officials said they were not engines, but parts of it, including the bogies in which the engines are fitted.
The steam locomotives, manufactured in the 1950s, were lying unattended near Purnea Court station for over two decades after being decommissioned. Senior section engineer Rajeev Ranjan Jha, posted at Samastipur railway division under the East Central Railway (ECR), allegedly procured a fake office order to sell it as scrap.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) sub-inspector Virendra Dwivedi and helper Sushil Kumar Yadav posted in the Samastipur division allegedly assisted Jha in removing the engines and selling them.
RPF officers posted around Purnea Court had noticed Jha and Yadav supervising the dismantling of the engines with the help of gas cutters on December 14. Asked about it, Jha produced an office order to move the engines as scrap to the stores.
However, an RPF constable, Sangeeta Kumari, noticed something amiss. The store register showed the entry of a pickup truck loaded with scrap, but there was no sign of it.
The RPF investigated the matter and found out that the letter shown by Jha was a forged one. It unsuccessfully searched for the scrap-loaded vehicle for two days and then registered an FIR.
Dwivedi and Yadav have been suspended on the directive of Samastipur divisional railway manager (DRM) Alok Agarwal while a hunt is on for Jha.
Contacted by The Telegraph, ECR chief public relations officer Rajesh Kumar confirmed that such an incident had occurred, but said: “Those were parts of steam locomotives — bogies in which the engine is kept. They were not to be auctioned, but were to be brought back to the railway stores. Further probe is going on in the matter.”
A senior railway official who requested not to be identified told this newspaper that Jha illegally sold two engine bogies — steel frames, casings, platforms and wheels on which engines are fitted to be used as locomotives.
“We do not know much about them, but each of the engine bogies weighed around eight tonnes. Scrap is sold at around Rs 25 per kg, which makes their value at around Rs 4 lakh,” the senior railway official said.
Railway sources said Jha had gone on leave on December 14 by informing his superiors that his father was unwell.