A day after railways minister Suresh Prabhu wrote to home minister Rajnath Singh seeking National Investigation Agency (NIA) probes into recent train derailments, Railway Board member (Traffic) Mohammed Jamshed said on Wednesday 45 derailments in the current fiscal could have been “sabotage” cases.
Even as the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) has not submitted its final report in recent derailment incidents, railway officials have been jumping to the sabotage theory with unusual alacrity.
“There has been a marked increase in derailments in recent weeks and the sabotage angle cannot be ruled out. Fish plates on tracks have been found to be removed and large pieces of rail have been placed at certain locations”, Jamshed said.
The Railways has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 900 crore in freight and passenger revenues on account of factors such as derailments, public agitation (on tracks), or postponements/cancellations because of foggy weather, Jamshed said.
In his letter of January 23, the railways minister had listed six incidents of “possible criminal interference by outsiders”, mentioning the Hirakhand Express derailment in Andhra Pradesh and the incident involving the Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur.
In a post on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Prabhu has “requested all to be extra vigilant to foil nefarious designs of these anti-people elements trying to subvert system”.
He has also directed railway security personnel to be careful and sought cooperation of the public to give information of any unusual activities by anti-national elements near stations to law enforcement agencies.