The chance arrest of youth from Khajahanpur village under Cheria Bariarpur police station of Begusarai district in north Bihar on Monday has turned out to be a major catch for security agencies probing train mishaps owing to sabotage that has caused scores of deaths across the country.
Shivam Soni, 21, a resident of Jaunpur in UP, was arrested from his in-laws’ place Khajahanpur during ‘Holi’ celebrations, after locals complained he was causing nuisance in a drunken state. He has since been remanded in judicial custody till March 29, for carrying a forged Aadhar card and I-card.
But what made Soni a big catch was evidence to suggest he had a role in terror attacks causing derailment of trains. The arrest of three persons from Motihari, having links with ISI operative Shamsul Hoda, had brought to light the sabotage angle of train accidents, a few months ago.
Although a medical test showed no evidence of alcohol in Shivam’s blood, a search of his possessions at his in-laws’ house led to the recovery of four cell phones, three railway maps of India, a railways time table, a fake AADHAR card, bank passbooks, a fake identity card and over a hundred train journey tickets.
During the examine of a railway map, the police found that some important routes between Barabanki, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi (all Uttar Pradesh), Gaya and Chhapra (both in Bihar), were highlighted with pencil.
Soni was detained and subsequently interrogated by the Begusarai police, the state police, Bihar ATS, special branch, central intelligence agencies and the GRP, to elicit details of the plan to cause derailment of trains allegedly on behalf of Pakistan’s ISI.
The Begusarai police informed the national investigation agency (NIA) about the arrest of Soni, who is suspected to have been involved in the Indore-Patna Express derailment near Kanpur last November that left over 150 dead and many others injured.
He is also suspected to have put a concrete slab on railway track at Dalsingsarai in Samastipur district of north Bihar in January 2017 with the objective of causing a rail mishap. A case had been lodged at the Dalsingsarai police station against unidentified miscreants.
Soni had also allegedly done a recce of Ghorasahan and Nakardei railway stations in Bihar.
According to intelligence sources, Soni admitted that the time of the Kanpur rail accident, he along with others, was present at the site of occurrence. When the Indore-Patna Express train derailed near Kanpur Dehat , Soni and his associates had looted costly articles from the passengers, it is alleged.
During interrogation, Soni revealed the name of six persons from Uttar Pradesh, including Mohammad Aftab, who was detained by UP ATS and was under interrogation. On the other hand, Soni’s wife told interrogators that her husband used to regularly converse with two persons. She, however, could not give details of conversion or names of the two persons.
Begusarai SP Ranjit Kumar Mishra told HT, Soni used to change his addresses frequently, from Faizabad to Varanasi. He had married a Begusarai girl in July 2016 and was spending a lot of his time with his in-laws since then.
Villagers of Khajahanpur informed the police that whenever Soni came to the village he always had a huge sum of money to spend.
The SP said the case against Soni for carrying forged Aadhar card, identity card and bank passbooks, had been lodged on the basis of the statement of the SHO of Cheria Bariarpur police station.