Almost a year after 148 people died in it, the Gyaneswari Express tragedy is set to turn into a political fireball in Bengal. HT has accessed transcripts of recorded conversations of suspected Maoist leaders plotting to sabotage the rail tracks — and the fact that police knew about this but did nothing.
On May 27, the special operations group control room at Midnapore town intercepted conversations between members of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), a front of the Maoists, planning to “derail a train”.
However, police sat on the information and hours later, the Mumbai-bound UP Gyaneswari Express derailed and a goods train coming from the opposite direction smashed into three of its bogies, killing 148.
The revelation might give the ruling CPI(M) fresh ammunition to target rival Trinamool Congress, which it accuses of having links with the PCAPA and also Maoists.
However, the Trinamool Congress, which has maintained that the train was derailed to malign party chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee, could also hit back at the CPI(M) and charge it with not working on information that could have prevented the mishap.
Asked about the intercepted conversations, Manoj Verma, superintendent of police of West Midnapore, told Hindustan Times: “I won’t be able to comment on why the police did not inform the railways about the conspiracy to avert the accident. The CBI has already investigated the matter.”
West Bengal will see six-phase Assembly polls, beginning April 18.