Railways has started an internal inquiry into allegations that an AC coach was added to Lucknow-Delhi Padmavat Express on Saturday at the last moment to accommodate an officer on special duty posted with Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.
A joint secretary-level officer of the civil engineering department in the Railway Board will probe the matter.
The Railways has said that adding coaches is normal during rush. Vinay Srivastava, the official who took the train, has denied allegations that the coach was attached on his request.
Srivastava, who was to travel from Lucknow to Delhi with his family, had booked four tickets for the AC Special Express. To get the tickets confirmed, he put in a request under the emergency quota system, but they could not be accommodated because of the rush. He was later accommodated on the Padmavat Express, in which a composite AC coach (a mix of AC-II and III classes) was added.
An hour-long delay in departure triggered allegations on social media that bona fide waitlisted passengers were denied berths to accommodate Srivastava.
Srivastava, an officer of Railways’ Service of Mechanical Engineers currently on deputation with HRD ministry, denied the allegations. “I did not request anyone to attach a coach for me. Neither do I have the authority to do so,” Srivastava told The Indian Express.
Lucknow Divisional Railway Manager Satish Kumar said the coach was full with waitlisted passengers the moment it was attached. “This is a normal operation to cater to festive rush. It is being blown out of proportion.”