Conversation between two accused in Bihar incidents hint Kanpur train derailment was act of sabotage
The suspect, Umashankar Patel from Bihar, decided to record the conversation after his Nepal-based handler Brij Kishore Giri asked him to return the money following his failure to carry out an explosion through improvised explosive device (IED) planted on train tracks in Bihar’s Ghorasahan.india Updated: Jul 04, 2017 17:09 IST
A suspect in last year’s train derailment case in Bihar recorded conversations with his Nepal-based handler, leaving clues that suggest a possible sabotage angle to Kanpur train accident that claimed 150 lives on November 20 last year, NIA probe has revealed.
The suspect, Umashankar Patel from Bihar, decided to record the conversation after his Nepal-based handler Brij Kishore Giri asked him to return the money following his failure to carry out an explosion through improvised explosive device (IED) planted on train tracks in Bihar’s Ghorasahan on September 30 last year.
Giri hired another set of criminals to plant an IED at Nakardei in the same state on December 2. This time the IED exploded but failed to cause any damage. Investigators say the conversation between Patel and Giri took place between the Kanpur train derailment and the Nakardei incidents.
Both Patel and Giri were arrested in a multi-agency swoop earlier this year in Nepal and Bihar along with their more than half a dozen associates for their involvement in two incidents of planting of IEDs on train tracks.
“Kanpur wala keel pin-un nikal dehni, bujhela, keela khunta nikal diya ... Dekho unka kaam ho gaya...un log ka aadmi kar diya ... Khali keela khunta nikal diya, ho gaya ... tum se toh woh bhi nahi ho raha (In Kanpur, screws and pins were taken out, understood, see their work was done. Their men managed to do it by taking out pins and screws ... You have not been able to do even that),” Giri is heard telling Patel after the Kanpur accident, according to NIA sleuths.
Investigators found the recording on Patel’s phone. They claimed that forensic analysis and witness accounts confirmed that the voices in the conversation were indeed those of Patel and Giri.
“The conversation of Giri and Patel suggests the involvement of another group of people in the Kanpur incident. And if the claim made by Giri is true, we need to find those people. It’s possible that Giri might have just boasted to tell Patel that he is just useless,” a senior NIA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
“Therefore, as of now, we are yet to form any opinion on the Kanpur incident. As far as the two Bihar incidents are concerned, our probe has shown that a conspiracy was hatched outside India to cause train derailments here and Giri and Patel were part of the conspiracy. So far this conclusion is limited to the Bihar incidents,” the officer added.
According to investigators, around a year back, Pakistan-based alleged ISI operative Mohammed Shafi contacted Nepal-based Samsul Hoda, allegedly a fake Indian currency smuggler, to look for local criminals who could carry out train derailments in India. Hoda contracted the job to Giri, who hired Patel and others in Bihar to plant IEDs on railway tracks, said sources.
As their relationship soured Patel started recording his conversations with Giri and three such conversations have been recovered from the Bihar man’s phone.
The NIA probed the two Bihar incidents and after the completion of their investigation, the agency is all set to charge eight accused, including Giri and Patel, in the matter. The agency is also probing the Kanpur train derailment.
This is not the first instance when an accused involved in the Bihar bomb planting incidents hinted that the Kanpur train derailment was an act of sabotage. Moti Paswan, who was allegedly involved in planting an IED at Nakardei, claimed at the time of his arrest last January that his group was behind the Kanpur derailment. Uttar Pradesh police, however, said they didn’t find any evidence of sabotage.
The NIA has roped in experts from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in their probe into the sabotage angle. As part of the forensic analysis of the incident, the agency has picked up 60 samples of soil from the site of the derailment and also from train coaches.
The samples are being analysed by experts to see if there are any chemical traces in soil or train coaches to suggest the presence of explosives.
The Kanpur train derailment became a political issue in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections earlier this year.
“The Kanpur rail accident in which hundreds were killed was a conspiracy and conspirators carried it out sitting across the border,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an election meeting in February in Gonda, which is close to India-Nepal border.