The West Bengal police on Friday arrested a person allegedly instrumental in causing last week’s Jnaneswari Express mishap, which claimed 148 lives.
The accused, Khagen Mahato, was caught near Kharagpur along with a pick-up van the police claimed he owns. Police believe the incident on May 27 was an act of sabotage, and Mahato and other saboteurs used the van meant to carry materials for railway work.
“Some activists of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) and local-level Maoist leaders had summoned him before the mishap,” a police officer said.
Mahato was later remanded in 10 days’ police custody by the Jhargram sub-divisional court. “We think the police will get more information from him, which will lead to more arrests,” said additional public prosecutor Suman Das Mahapatra.
Mahato is suspected to be associated with PCAPA and know Bapi Mahato, the prime accused. Mahato refuted the allegation during interrogation, but said he was not in a position to deny his services to rebels who dominate the area.
The PCAPA, meanwhile, has denied any role in the train accident. “The police are trying to disgrace us,” said spokesperson Asit Mahato.