CBI has arrested a leader of a Maoist-backed organisation for alleged role in derailment of Jnaneswari Express last month that left nearly 150 people dead and sought permission from court for invoking the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the case.
The accused, Hiralal Mahato, was produced before a local court which remanded him to police custody for 10 days, a CBI spokesman said.
He said the CBI had also moved an application in the court for invoking section 16(committing terrorist acts) and section 18 (No suit or legal proceeding against the Government in respect of any loss or damage) of UAPA.
The spokesman said Mahato, who belonged to People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA), was arrested from a village Rasua in Midnapore district with active cooperation of the West Bengal Police.
It was a joint operation led by Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Zulfikar Hassan and his staff during which the arrest was made, the spokesman said.
As many as 148 people were killed when the Jnaneswari Express derailed on May 28.
The police had on June 4 seized a pickup van, claimed to have been used to ferry men who sabotaged the railway tracks leading to the derailment.
The van was registered in the name of Chhabi Mahato, a former CPI(M) panchayat member of Sardiya. Her husband Khagen Mahato was arrested by CID sleuths from Kharagpur town in West Midnapore district and remanded to police custody for 10 days.
According to sources, Hiralal Mahato had used the van to ferry the saboteurs to the railway tracks at around 10:00 pm on May 27, hours before the disaster.
A mobile phone from which Mahato made a number of calls that night was also seized, they said.
The saboteurs, including PCPA members Bapi Mahato, Manik Mahato and Umakanta Mahato, had held a meeting at a Shiva temple at Muramoni to firm up their plans, the sources said.