THE NATIONAL Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun probing the angle of sabotage in the Indore-Patna Express derailment in Pukhrayan area of Kanpur Dehat district, which had claimed 147 lives on November 20 last year. On January 27, NIA’s Lucknow unit had lodged a case against unidentified persons on charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It had done so after Moti Paswan — who was arrested last month for allegedly attempting to blow up railway tracks in Bihar’s East Champaran district — claimed to have planted a cooker bomb on the tracks at Pukhrayan with the help of his associates, causing the derailment.
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NIA has also invoked the Railways Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case. A team of officials is presently camping in Pukhrayan for the investigation.
However, officials of the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), who had interrogated Paswan, had ruled out the possibility of sabotage, claiming they had not found any corroborative evidence at the spot.
“Apart from the Pukhrayan train derailment case, we have also registered a case in East Champaran district. Investigation is ongoing in both cases,” said Alok Mittal, IG, NIA. Sources said the agency had registered two cases as they suspected that the derailment was a “terror act”.
NIA officials will also interrogate alleged ISI agent Shamshul Hoda, an alleged key suspect in the Kanpur derailment case, who was arrested in Kathmandu on Monday evening. “We will be sending a team to Nepal to record the statement of Shamshul Hoda after obtaining permission from Nepal police,” said an official.
The state ATS and central agencies had initiated an inquiry exploring the possibility that sabotage caused the Kanpur mishap last year, after Bihar police arrested three suspects — Uma Shankar Patel and Mukesh Yadav besides Paswan — following a tip off by Nepal police. Brij Kishore Giri, Munahid Ansari and Hoda were arrested in connection with a murder case. During interrogation, Giri had allegedly confessed to having planted a bomb on the railway tracks at East Champaran district alongwith Patel, Yadav and Paswan.
Giri had also allegedly had told the Nepal police that Dubai-based Hoda had employed them in Bihar for the “terror act”.