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Godhra train fire accidental: Probe panel

Banerjee panel reiterated Sabarmati Express blaze was not deliberate.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 01:33 IST

The Justice UC Banerjee Committee on Friday said the February 27, 2002 blaze in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra was "accidental".

The Committee rubbished the Sangh Parivar's "conspiracy theory' hatched against Hindus.

The Godhra incident claimed 59 lives and triggered widespread riots in Gujarat.

In its final report presented to Railway Board Chairman JP Batra at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday evening, the committee reiterated that the fire was "accidental" and "not a deliberately attempted" incident.

After receiving the report, Batra said he would examine it.

Justice Banerjee later told reporters that his final report was a reiteration of the earlier conclusion that the blaze was "accidental" in nature.

"With the elimination of the 'petrol theory', 'miscreant activity theory' as well as the ruling out of any possibility of 'electrical fire', the fire in S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express can at this stage be ascribed as an 'accidental fire'," the committee had said in its January 17, 2005 interim report.

On February 26, 2005, Lalu Prasad had tabled the two-volume interim report of the committee in Parliament after presenting the Railway budget for 2005-06.

The government had given the committee a three-month extension after their interim report.

The interim report, which was submitted to the then Railway Board Chairman RK Singh, had triggered a controversy as it negated the conspiracy theory of the Sangh Parivar justifying the reprisal violence.

The Sangh Parivar has been claiming that the train fire was targeted at the Hindus who were returning to Ayodhya after a pilgrimage.

First Published: Mar 03, 2006 15:45 IST