The Railways did not rule out the possibility of sabotage in the train collision involving Uttarbanga Express and the Vananchal Express here,that claimed the lives of at least 60 passengers.
Taking the lead in espousing this approach was Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who said she was “suspicious” about the cause of the accident involving Sealdah-bound Uttarbanga Express and Vananchal Express at Sainthia station in Birbhum district early on Monday.
“I am suspicious about the cause of the accident,” Banerjee told reporters here when asked about the circumstances that led to the mishap.
“We have some doubt in our mind. Whatever happened is not casual thing. We will take all strong step against those who are behind this,” she said before proceeding for the accident site.
She,however,did not elaborate,but said that she had ordered an inquiry.
“Nothing can be ruled out. Ho sakta hai hamara equipment se chherchhar hui ho. Ye sab janch ke bad pata chalega (It may be possible that our equipment might have been tampered with. It will be known only after inquiry),” Eastern Railways General Manager V N Tripathy concurred.
“The Commissioner of Railway safety is holding an inquiry after which we will be able to know what exactly happened.”
To another question,he said that the Uttarbanga Express,which rammed into the rear of Vananchal Express,seemed to be running at a much higher speed than it was supposed to while entering the Sainthia station.
“What caused the accident is a mystery to us. The driver of the Uttarbanga Express was a very good driver. He had stopped the train properly at previous station. We are puzzled,” the Eastern Railways general manager said.
At least 60 people have been killed and over 90 injured in the train accident today.
“The toll may rise as some are still battling for life in hospital,” he said.
Tripathy said all the bodies had been extricated from the damaged compartments and all injured rescued.
“There is no one in any of the affected coaches. We have checked them,” he said.
A team of National Disaster Relief Force is at the site with sniffer dogs to trace anyone who was still trapped.
Altogether 167 army men and officers arrived with doctors and para-medical staff from nearby Panagarh and Kanchrapara army stations.
The team members included engineers and metal cutting specialists.
The engine of the Uttarbanga express was totally damaged after it rammed into the rear of the Vananchal Express in Sainthia station in Birbhum district. The luggage van of the Vananchal Express split into two and lay beside the track.