The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Government Railway Police (GRP), Punjab, which is investigating the Amritsar train tragedy on Dussehra, is contemplating conducting a lie detector test on the loco pilot of the DMU which was involved in the accident.
Sources informed The Indian Express that the SIT “may press for lie detector of loco pilot”, if considered necessary. The SIT has also been informed that the speedometer of the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train which mowed down 61 people to death and left scores of others injured stopped functioning after the accident.
Sources said the Railways authorities in response to queries by the SIT maintained that speedometer was “functional” until accident took place. The SIT was constituted by Punjab Additional Director General (Railway) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota who was directed by Punjab Director General of Police to conduct a probe to fix criminal responsibility for the mishap.
The SIT also questioned the DMU loco pilot in Amrisar on Wednesday and recorded his statement. Sources said on the lines of his stance earlier, the loco pilot re-iterated that he applied emergency brakes and “released pressure”, but sensing threat to the passengers on board from the crowd which has started “pelting stones”, decided againt halting and took the train to Amritsar Railway station.
A team of experts from Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, which was requisitioned at the site, sources said, has also sent a number of queries to the SIT which in turn has sent those to Railway authorities for a response.
A source said CFSL queries included “range” of headlights of the DMU, specifications of the reflectors on the train and technical details about the emergency braking and the distance the train might have stopped after application of emergency brakes.
Sources said Railways had “verbally” told the SIT officials that train was running at a speed of “90 km per hour” which was below the maximum permissible limit of 110 km per hour on the stretch from Mananwal to Amritsar”. An SIT official said, “We have sought the details in writing”.
Another detail which has been sought is about any communication between the loco pilot, the gateman and the Railway officials. Sources said that Railways authorities have also been asked to provide breath analyser reports of the loco pilot. An official said that as a standard operating procedure, the loco pilot undertakes the breath analyser test both while starting the journey from origin station and at completion of the journey at destination station.
A source said that the loco pilot underwent the breath analyser test at Jalandhar railway station before he was handed over the train and he (loco pilot) and the Railway authorities have said that after reaching Amritsar railway station after the accident, “the loco pilot went to concerned authorities and undetook the breath analyser test there also and that “the report was normal”.