A first information report (FIR) was registered against unidentified railwaymen on Monday in connection with the derailment of the Indore-Patna Express.
The FIR was registered hours after principal secretary (home) Debashish Panda said the Uttar Pradesh government would initiate legal action. Panda had reached the train accident site with director general of police (DGP) Javeed Ahmad.
“An FIR has been lodged at Bhognipur police station in Kanpur dehat by Government Railway police SHO, Bheemsen Arjun Singh under section IPC 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 304 A (causing hurt), 154 Railway act against unknown Railway personnel,” DGP Javed Ahmed said.
At least 146 people died after the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat on Sunday morning.
“A case has been registered and an extensive investigation will be carried to find out the people responsible for a tragedy of this magnitude,” said Satendra Kumar, superintendent of Government Railway Police (GRP), Jhansi.
Sources said the decision to file the FIR was taken following reports the railway staff ignored the complaints of passengers about an unusual sound coming from the wheel.
Sharad Pratap Singh, circle officer of Jhansi GRP, will lead the investigation. The 12-member investigation team comprises five sub-inspectors, two head constables and five constables.
“The team will record statements of passengers, railwaymen and eye-witnesses to reach a conclusion,” said Kumar.
“It is easily distinguishable that sheer negligence is involved and that led to this tragedy,” said a senior police officer who was not willing to be named.
“Passengers had rightly noticed (the sound) when the train left Indore. The concerns were shared with railway staff multiple times, yet the train was allowed to keep running without being examined,” said the senior police official.
Initial inputs suggested the wheel of one of the coaches jammed and the investigation would focus on this aspect.
For their part, the railways have blamed a suspected rail fracture for the derailment.
During investigation, the team is expected to record statements of 500 people. “That is why extra manpower has been given so that the investigation remains hassle free,” said the sources.
(With inputs from PTI)