Amritsar Train Tragedy: GRP questions train driver at Beas, Sidhu couple to join magistrate probe todayhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/amritsar-train-tragedy-grp-questions-train-driver-at-beas-sidhu-couple-to-join-magistrate-probe-today/

Amritsar Train Tragedy: GRP questions train driver at Beas, Sidhu couple to join magistrate probe today

Officials said that the questioning was kept under wraps due to threat putting out such information could have posed to the driver’s life.

Amritsar train tragedy, Amritsar train accident probe, Government Railways Police (GRP),  DMU train, Amrinder Singh  Navjot Singh Sidhu, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Indian Express   
Amritsar: The site of a railway accident near the venue of Dussehra festivities, at Joda Phatak (Source: PTI Photo)

The Government Railways Police (GRP) on Thursday said that it has examined Arvind Kumar, the driver of the local Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train that crushed 61 Dussehra revellers in Amritsar. Kumar was questioned at the GRP station at Beas on Wednesday.

Officials said that the questioning was kept under wraps due to threat putting out such information could have posed to the driver’s life. A case was registered under Sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 304A (causing death by negligence) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC against unidentified persons after the accident. So, far police has not named anyone in the FIR even 13 days after the accident. “Driver has said nothing new. He told us what is already in public domain. We recorded his statement at the Beas GRP station,” said Balbir Singh Ghuman, who is also member of the SIT formed by the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP, Railways) Iqbal Singh Sahota to look into accident only after four days of the accident.

On if driver was questioend about his claim that people had pelted stones at the train after the accident, Ghuman said,”We have done proper videography of the train. We didn’t find any thing on the train’s body that showed it was stoned. There were no traces of any kind of stone pelting on the train.” Asked if there is any possibility that driver can be booked in the case, an official said, “You must look at what the High Court has said while deciding a petition on railways accident. Court clearly said that railway tracks are for trains and not for watching Dussehra. So you can understand what options are left with police.”

While the Railways maintains that there was not enough distance to bring that train to a halt, Punjab Cabinet minsiter Navjot Singh Sidhu had raised questions on driver of train Arvind Kumar. Sidhu had asked why Railways had not conducted a medical examination of the driver after the accident. Meanwhile, Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner B Purushartha, who is heading the magistrate probe ordered by the Punjab government, has also summoned Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu to join the probe on Friday.

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Navjot Kaur Sidhu was chief guest at the event. According to a request letter submitted by the organiser Sourab Mithu Madan, Navjot Singh Sidhu was also expected to attend the function as chief guest, he, however, was out of Punjab on given day. It is not clear why Navjot Singh Sidhu has been asked to join the probe. Both Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner B Purushartha and Navjot Singh Sidhu declined to comment on whether he had been summoned in his capacity as the Local Body Minister and local MLA.

Sidhu couple has been summoned even as Punjab and Haryana High Court has rejected the petition seeking to book Navjot Kaur Sidhu for the accident. Meanwhile, Navjot Singh Sidhu announced on Thursday that he will take care of five such accident victim families which have no one eligible to claim that government job as announced by MCA.

Spokesperson for Sidhu said, “Sidhu will deposit Rs 8000 in accounts of these families tomorrow and this amount will be given to these families till we make some other arrangements for respectful living of these families. These are the the families which have no one eligible to claim the government job.”

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