An activist of a pro-Maoist tribal body has been arrested for his involvement in the May 28 Gyaneshwari Express derailment that left 148 dead, West Bengal Police said Tuesday. This is the second arrest in the case.
Samir Mahato, a member of the Sidhu Kanhu Gana Militia -- militant wing of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), was picked up by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police from Jhargram in West Midnapore district Monday night, a senior CID official said.
This was the second arrest made by the CID in the case after taking into custody one of the prime accused Khagen Mahato.
A total of 148 people were killed when the Mumbai-bound Howrah-Kurla Gyaneshwari Express derailed near Jhargram May 28. Soon thereafter, a freight train rammed into five of the derailed coaches.
"A team of CID sleuths arrested Samir Mahato from his native village Kushumaghati and brought him to the investigative agency’s headquarters here," Deputy Inspector General (CID) Anuj Sharma told IANS.
Samir, a close aide of Khagen, was engaged by the latter for keeping a vigil on the movement of the joint forces in the area while the other members of the militia wing were busy cutting open pandrol clips (used to fix the rail to the sleeper) for over 50 metres. He was asked to alert the saboteurs in case he spotted any security personnel, he said.
“We have lot of evidences of Samir’s involvement in the incident. He was produced before the Jhargram additional chief judicial magistrate’s court today (Tuesday),” Sharma said.
“He is now on police remand. We expect to get more clues by grilling him,” Sharma said.
Samir Mahato’s arrest by the CID came hours after state home secretary Samar Ghosh said that the state police will wind up the case and handover all findings related to the crime to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has been engaged by the central government to probe the case.
The CBI has already started the groundwork for the probe.
A team of CBI officials is likely to visit Jhargram court Tuesday to lodge the first information report (FIR) to formally start the investigation.
Another team of CBI officials would meet the CID officials here to get the detailed report of the investigation conducted by them, CBI sources said.