Gyaneshwari Express case handed over to CBI
The West Bengal government today handed over the Gyaneshwari Express derailment case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), whose sleuths held a series of meetings with government officials and the top brass of the state police.india Updated: Jun 10, 2010 19:34 IST
The West Bengal government on Thursday handed over the Gyaneshwari Express derailment case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), whose sleuths held a series of meetings with government officials and the top brass of the state police.
"The state government has handed over the case. But the entire process will take some time as we have to go through lot of legal paraphernalia," CBI spokesman Harsh Bhal said.
State Director General of Police Bhupindar Singh said the handover took place at the Bhawani Bhawan, headquarters of the state police's investigative agency Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Express ran off the tracks on May 28 near Jhargram, a town in West Midnapore district, due to alleged Maoist sabotage. A speeding freight train then rammed into five derailed coaches causing the death of 148 people.
Soon after the incident, the state government had asked the CID to probe the matter.
However, following a demand from Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, the central government entrusted the CBI with the job.
"The case diary, seizure list and case records have been handed over to the CBI officials. The CBI officials have also requested the CID to assist them in the investigation", said Singh.
Two senior CBI officers - Special Crime Branch superintendent (Kolkata) Arun Bothra and Joint Director Keshab Kumar Rao - met the state chief secretary, the home secretary and the police chief at the state secretariat and discussed the legal procedures of taking over the case.
Singh maintained that the CBI has not registered any fresh First Information Report (FIR) but would conduct the investigation on the basis of the one lodged by the state police.
The CID sleuths have so far arrested four people, including Khagen Mahato and Samir Mahato, in connection of the tragedy. They will be handed over to the CBI after completing the legal procedures at the Jhargram court.
"The CID will extend every kind of help to the CBI officials by giving them the entire findings of the case" Singh said, adding: "The CBI officials can also verify the findings of the CID if they wish."
Singh said the CID investigation was nearing completion and the investigative agency would have been able to submit the charge sheet within 90 days of initiating the probe.
While a team of CBI officials went to the state investigative agency's headquarters in the morning, another group comprising three sleuths went to Jhargram and spoke to railway officials besides submitting the case papers at the Jhargram Court.
Anil Handa, divisional railway manager, Kharagpur said: "Three CBI officials met me in my office and asked me to provide infrastructural support. They also asked me about my take on the incident".
"But they did not discuss anything pertaining to the interrogation of the drivers of the Gyaneshwari Express and the goods train," said Handa.