Passengers aboard the Indore-Pune Express have alleged that the train was made to halt for about “15-20 minutes” at Lonavala station instead of the usual four minutes for a marriage party reportedly of a relative of senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya.
The railway administration, although conceding that the train had halted for longer than usual, maintained it was only for six minutes.
According to a passenger in the train who had boarded at Worli for Pune, the train made an “unusually long halt” at Lonavala at 7.24 am.
“It stopped for about 15-20 minutes at Lonavala. The passengers thought there was some technical glitch. Later, when we saw hundreds of passengers lazily disembarking from the train, we found out the real reason. Upon inquiry, I was told they were relatives of BJP leader Vijayvargiya and had boarded from Indore,” said the passenger who did not wish to be named.
Local railway administration confirmed that the train halted for longer than usual but maintained that the halt was of a much shorter duration.
Sunil Deshpande, Station Manager (Lonavala), said the instructions to halt the train until all the passengers of the marriage party disembarked had come from Divisional Headquarters in Mumbai. “The Divisional Operations Manager (Coaching) had given us instructions to make sure that all the passengers of the marriage party had got down before the train left. There were about 200-250 members in the marriage party. The train was halted for six minutes, which is not unusual. We extend such courtesies if someone approaches us,” said Deshpande.
When contacted, DOM (Coaching) said the halt was not on account of any marriage party and that he had not given any instructions to anyone to detain the train longer. “The train halted at Lonavala only for extra two minutes. Whoever has given you the information is wrong. I didn’t give any such instructions,” he said.