Many Railway stations on Terror radar; one held in Begusarai

PATNA: Several railway stations, including Varanasi, Kanpur and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Chhapra and Gaya in Bihar, are on the target of terror outfits, police on Wednesday said following the recovery of three railways route maps from terror suspect arrested on Tuesday in Begusarai, around 125km from Patna.

Apart from Varanasi, which is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Kanpur, Lucknow, Gaya, Chhapra were marked with pencil on the railway route maps seized from Soni. Clippings of a Hindi vernacular daily of January 18 about East Champaran police suspecting track sabotage after the arrest of three criminals were also found from his possession. Four cellphones, seven sim cards, a fake Aadhaar card in his name and some other items were also seized from his room.

Police sources said Soni was arrested from Karor Khanjapur under Cheria Bariyarpur police station area of Begusarai district. “Soni started hurling abuses when he was smeared with colours by villagers on Holi night. Police took him for medical test, but no trace of alcohol was found in his blood. Even a day after, he remained aggressive after which his room was searched leading to the recovery of the maps and his arrest on Tuesday,” said a police officer.

Sources said Soni admitted his involvement in the Indore-Patna Express derailment near Kanpur on November 21 last year. At least 150 passengers had lost their lives in the accident. He also revealed the names of six other persons from Jaunpur and Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh for their involvement in Kanpur track sabotage.

“A three-member team of UP police anti-terrorism squad (ATS) reached Begusarai on Wednesday to interrogate the suspect,” Begusarai SP Ranjeet Kumar Mishra told.

Apart from UP ATS, a team of Bihar ATS, special branch and Intelligence Bureau officials are also quizzing the suspect.

Sources said Soni tried to mislead the police by saying that he is a native of Faizabad, but he belongs to Karakat in Jaunpur. “His grandmother and brother have been traced in Jaunpur. He has been living at his in-laws’ house in Begusarai since July last year. Villagers said his activities were suspicious,” a police source said.

When asked, a police officer said Soni did not reveal anything about Umashankar Patel, Motilal Paswan and Mukesh Yadav, who had been arrested by Motihari police for their involvement in the bomb blast on the track near Nakardei railway station and one such failed attempt near Ghorasahan station in East Champaran last year.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team investigating the recent railway track sabotage cases in India also reached Begusarai on Wednesday evening.