A day after 308 clips that fasten railway tracks to sleepers were allegedly removed from a stretch in Lucknow city, the UP ATS on Monday received CCTV footage of a “suspect” from an unidentified local resident. The footage purportedly shows the “suspect” carrying a torch and walking on the track. Police teams are trying to get a clearer image for identification. On Sunday, a woman, who also lives near the stretch, had alleged that she saw someone striking the track repeatedly with a hammer at around 3.30 am. IG (UP ATS) Asim Arun said they have recorded her statement.
A case was lodged at Lucknow’s Mahanagar police station on Sunday after the Pandrol clips were found removed and scattered around the track during a routine patrolling check by two railway trackmen early in the morning. The FIR was registered under section 150 (maliciously wrecking or attempting to wreck a train) of the Railways Act. “It appears to be a planned act done by people who have technical knowledge. Also, it is an act of a group of more than 2-3 persons,” said Alok Srivastava, public relations officer (PRO) of the North Eastern Railways.
Srivastava said Pandrol clips of a total of 77 sleepers were found missing on the stretch between Badshah Nagar and Daliganj railway stations in Lucknow. “At around 1.30 am, when patrolmen Shivshankar and Sanjay crossed the stretch while checking the particular track, everything was alright. But when they were coming back on the same track at around 4.25 am, they found the clips missing,” the PRO added. On searching, they found the clips scattered near the tracks.
He further said that the patrolmen immediately alerted the station masters of both stations, after which the mechanical staff repaired the track within an hour. Srivastava said that though few trains were scheduled to move through that particular stretch at that time, the Gorakhnath Express and Kaifiyat Express were stopped at Badshah Nagar and Lucknow junction respectively, till the clips were re-installed.
He added that the NER general manager, additional divisional railway manager (ADRM), the RPF commandment and other officials too visited the spot later, and a primary inquiry was conducted in their presence by railway engineers, GRP and RPF officials.
Prima facie, the probe had indicated a “deliberate attempt to sabotage the railways’ security and derail the trains” on the track, said Srivastava. Alertness of the railway patrolling staff prevented a major accident, he added. The NER general manager also rewarded both patrolmen at the spot for timely action.