CID hands over Kuneru Rail Accident Case to NIA

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Andhra Pradesh government has handed over the investigation into the rail accident at Kuneru in Vizianagaram to the National Investigation Authority (NIA).

According to sources, the development happened a couple of days ago. “CID officials have sent fractured rails and other objects found at the scene of the accident to the forensic laboratory at Hyderabad. They later handed over the investigation findings to the NIA,” they said.

On January 21, 40 passengers were killed and several injured when seven coaches and the engine of 18448 Jagadalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru railway station.

The Union home ministry had ordered a probe by the NIA, while the state government had asked the CID to conduct its enquiry. Initially, railway officials too had not ruled out sabotage by Maoists.

The CID team did not find any evidence of involvement of naxals or particles of explosive material at the mishap site. However, they had sent the fractured rails and other material collected at the accident spot to the forensic lab. A five-member team of the NIA had also visited the accident spot and interacted with the injured persons two days after the mishap.

“On orders of the home ministry, the case was transferred to the NIA. As off now, there is no evidence of naxal involvement in the mishap. If they wish to do it, they would have struck at any place from Rayagada to Kuneru and not at the railway station. The rails are not easy to cut. You can do it only with gas cutters and it would not be possible to do so near the station with a railway employee being always present at the signalling cabin and the platform being so close,” a senior official of CID said.