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Sept 2002 Rajdhani mishap planned by Maoists

Written by: Staff
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Patna, May 15: A fresh probe has been initiated into the worst ever train accident of Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani express on September 9, 2002 in Aurangabad district and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad is likely to be quizzed.

The police finds this tragedy as 'genocide' for which it would also interrogate some senior officers of Indian Police Services.

In his supervision report, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Magadha range) Arvind Pandey asked Railway DIG Ajay Verma to probe into the accident to ascertain its actual cause and the groups responsible for 'engineering the carnage'. The supervision report, running into 92 pages, was submitted on May 12, he said.

In his report, Mr Pandey had raised doubts about the circumstances under which Mr Lalu Prasad,then the chief minister, issued statements ruling out involvement of Maoists in the tragedy which had claimed lives of more than 200 passengers.

The supervision report made 'startling' revelations as the spot of the accident, near Dhave bridge in Aurangabad district, was under the Sonenagar railway police station of Gaya-Mughalsarai rail division but the case was registered at Rafiganj police station which was illegal.

This apart, he said, instead of the railways, the matter was probed by the police which was against the Bihar police mannual.

Keeping in mind the provisions of the mannual the matter had been referred for a fresh probe by the railways.

The supervision report clearly indicates involvement of Maoist extremists in the accident. They had planned a similar accident of the Rajdhani express at the same spot on January two this year and had removed the fishplates. However, the train crossed the area a few minutes before removal of the fishplates. After this, the police nabbed five hardcore Maoists--Vikas Yadav, Sanjay Yadav, Rajesh Yadav, Sukhendra Yadav and Sandeep Samdarshi-- from the nearby villages.

In course of interrogation, Sukhendra Yadav admitted that they had engineered the 2002 Rajdhani tragedy with the motive to loot passengers. Along with his accomplices he was waiting near the spot.

But when the mishap took place with a huge explosion they were frightened and fled.

Sukhendra further said that when he visited the spot the next morning he was horrified to see the mutilated bodies of women, children and other passengers and the scene haunted him for several days.

Later when the extremists' gang was asked to engineer a similar accident of the same train at the same spot this January, Sukhendra said he refused saying, ''why should we kill so many innocent people only to rob them of their belongings.'' Meanwhile, after getting the supervision report Railway DIG Ajay Verma requested the Judicial Magistrate of Aurangabad to transfer the documents related to the accident in the court of Judicial Magistrate of Railways in Gaya.

Mr Pandey said the Rajdhani express tragedy was probed as a general accident but the recent revelations had added some new directions to the mishap.

Mr Verma, however, refused to comment on the matter saying the facts would be known only after a proper inquiry.

UNI

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