Truth test awaits mishap witnesses

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  • Published 30.06.14
The site of the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express accident

Patna, June 29: Police have decided to conduct polygraph test on witnesses in Wednesday’s derailment of the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express.

Four persons, including three residents of Punjab, were killed and 21 others were injured when 12 bogies of 12236 Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed between Chhapra Kacheri and Goldenganj stations in Saran district, around 80km north of Patna.

A senior police officer associated with the investigation said the decision to conduct polygraph test on the witnesses was taken in view of their contradictory statements over the cause of derailment. “A few gangmen told the commissioner of railway safety that they had found fastening clips open,” the officer said.

The police officer, present at the time when the statement of the witnesses was being recorded by commissioner of railway safety P.K. Vajpayee at Sonepur on Saturday, said the railway official directed the investigating officer of the case, Saran additional superintendent of police Sushil Kumar, to go for the polygraph test.

“We are going to seek permission from the local court to conduct polygraph test of all the witnesses, including the driver, gate man and gangmen. Though we have the test facility at the state forensic science laboratory, we would prefer to approach either the CBI or other investigating agencies for it,” the officer told The Telegraph on Sunday.

The witnesses reportedly told the commissioner of railway safety that they had revealed to the police officials that the fastening clips — commonly known as Pandrol clips named after the British company that manufactures it globally — were found open and even heard shouting a few people saying “maowad zindabad (long live Maoism)” but the police did not mention about it in the FIR, lodged on the basis of the gateman Arun Kumar Shukla’s statement with the Mufassil police station.

Shukla was deployed at railway crossing No. 38 near Bishunpura village, hardly 100m from the accident site. The police officer, who did not wish to be named, said the gateman remained silent on being asked about any subversive activities.

“I had not heard any sound of explosion,” Shukla is learnt to have told the commissioner of railway safety.

In a related development, Sushil, who is heading the six-member special investigation team (SIT) to ascertain the cause of derailment, said none of the victims mentioned about any explosion in their statement given to the investigating officer.

Sushil arrived in here on Sunday to record the statement of six injured persons, admitted to the intensive care unit of the railway hospital near Karbigahia (southern end of Patna Junction) and a private nursing home.

While two victims are admitted to the railway hospital, four are undergoing treatment at the private nursing home.