Footage from a CCTV camera mounted outside the ticket counter at Elphinstone Road railway station has not been helpful in the investigation into Friday’s stampede that killed 23 people there.
With the foot of the staircase where passengers exiting the railway station were crushed on September 29 not covered by cameras, the only visuals available to the police are from two cameras — one located at the Parel railway station end of the foot over bridge and the other at the ticket counter.
However, a senior police officer said the camera at the Parel end was of no use to the probe as nothing relevant had been captured by it. “Even the camera outside the ticket counter has captured only the crowd on the bridge and not the spot where the incident took place,” said the official.
According to the police, the footage shows the crowd moving along very slowly in the minutes leading up to the incident. “We can also see the face of a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable. But by his expression, it is clear that he has not noticed anything untoward at that moment. There is no expression of alarm on the faces of any passengers seen in the security camera footage,” said the officer.
At 10.26 am, the footage shows the first signs of the tragedy that unfolded subsequently, the police said. “A few passengers on the bridge take out their cell phones and begin recording something happening below. That is the only sign that something unusual has taken place,” said the officer.
The police is also investigating whether there was any negligence on the part of railway authorities or if any rumours spread in the crowd, resulting in the stampede. “So far, we have recorded the statements of 25-30 eyewitnesses, but none of them has mentioned any rumours being spread among passengers stuck on the staircase. They have also said that there was a lot of pressure from those standing above the bridge. Everyone kept shouting at those below to keep moving down. But we have not drawn any conclusions about the cause of the stampede yet,” said another official.