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Commissioner Rly Safety to probe train blast

An enquiry will be conducted into the incidence of blasts and fire in the ill-fated train, reports Hemendra Singh Bartwal.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 02:36 IST

An enquiry will be conducted into the incidence of blasts and fire in the two coaches of Delhi-Attari Express by Commissioner Railway Safety (Northern Circle) Bhupinder Singh.

The official, who inspected the mishap site near Panipat on Monday, will conduct a detailed probe into the incident shortly by making a thorough examination of the burnt coaches and hearing the accounts of eyewitnesses.

An enquiry by the CRS, which functions under the charge of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Safety, is a statutory requirement under the Railway regulations in case of any train accident. A separate enquiry subsequently, by a high-level investigation agency like the CBI, into the terrorists' involvement in the blasts is also a strong possibility.

Meanwhile, one person is believed to have been detained by the police agencies in Haryana on suspicion of involvement in the train explosions.

Further details about him were not immediately available.

According to Railway Minister Lalu Yadav, one of the injured Pakistani passengers of the ill-fated train, Rana Shaukat Ali, told him at Safdarjung Hospital that two suspicious-looking people had been noticed in his coach by assistant sub-inspector Kashmira Singh of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) who was travelling in the security contingent.

The ASI enquired from these two, who had mufflers wrapped around their heads, as to where were they going. On being told that they were headed for Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the official informed them that they had boarded the wrong train and asked them to get off when there was a five-minute technical haltat Ambala.

However, as per Ali's account, they got off the train soon after when it slowed down at a signal somewhere before Diwana station. The blasts occurred in the compartment about 15 to 20 minutes later, said Lalu who had gone to visit the injured admitted at Safdarjung Hospital.

According to the minister, security on the Indo-Pak express train will be stepped up considerably and its departure point will be shifted from the crowded Old Delhi stationto some other station in the city. Railway officials said it was difficult to ensure watertight security at the Old Delhi station because of the very large number of people who visited it.

Among the additional security measures that will be introduced on the Delhi Attari Express will be baggage identification as is done on the airlines, examination of baggage by sniffer dogs and a heavier security escort on the train for closer monitoring of passengers.

First Published: Feb 19, 2007 22:49 IST