The Railways on Wednesday declined to comment on the reported remarks of the Uttar Pradesh Railway Police chief that “there was no sabotage” in the Kanpur train mishap, saying the “matter is under investigation by the NIA”.
Gopal Gupta, director general of UP Railway Police, had reportedly told a conference called by the Railways on Monday that the derailment of Indore-Patna Express, that killed over 150 people, was not an act of sabotage but happened due to problem in tracks.
“It is now under investigation. So it is not right to comment on anything till the report is received,” Railway Board Member (Staff) Pradeep Kumar, who was present in the meeting, said, when asked if Gupta made the comments.
Earlier, addressing a rally in UP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the accident was a “conspiracy planned by people sitting across the border”.
Gupta reportedly contradicted the PM’s contention during the conference in which railway police chiefs of several states deliberated on improving coordination among agencies to ensure safety of train passengers.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu had also addressed the meeting through video conference and hinted at a possible sabotage angle.
He sought better coordination for safety of passengers in the wake of increased number of such accidents.
Fourteen coaches of the Indore-Patna Express had derailed near Kanpur on November 20 last year. It was the deadliest train accident in the country since 1999, when the Gaisal train accident had claimed 290 lives.
“The Kanpur train accident, in which hundreds of people were killed, was a conspiracy and the conspirators carried it out sitting across the border,” Modi had told the election rally at Gonda, which is near the Nepal border.
Nepalese national Shamshul Hoda, a suspected ISI agent and the prime accused, was arrested on February 7 from Kathmandu after being deported from Dubai, the Nepal Police had said.
The Railways had earlier cited “outside interference” as the possible reason in more than 40 derailment cases in the recent past.
Suspecting the possibility of sabotage in the recent spate of train derailments, Prabhu has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh last month seeking a detailed probe by the National Investigating Agency into the incidents.