Railway officials rule out short circuit in train fire tragedy

Bangalore (SBC):  Satish Kumar Mittal, Commissioner for Railway Safety (CRS) held discussions with officials from the South Western Railway, Bangalore division, about the recent fire that broke out in the air-conditioned B-1 coach of the Bangalore-Nanded express train.

The fire claimed the lives of 26 passengers, including two children, in Andhra Pradesh, in the early hours of Saturday.

According to sources, officials from the electrical division ruled out the possibility of an electric short circuit starting the fire.

“It is widely believed that a short circuit was the main reason for the fire. But officials from the division informed the inquiry officer that if an electric short circuit was the reason, the fire would have started from the top of the coach. But in this case, the fire spread from seat no.7,” said a railway officer.

On Tuesday Mittal visited the accident spot and recorded the statements of the eye witnesses.

The forensic report is awaited, which will put an end to all the speculation about the origins of the fire, the officer said.

Though statements of passengers who were inside the coach at the time of the mishap have been recorded, none of the passengers was present at the inquiry on Wednesday.

It was just an interaction between the CRS and railway officials, the officer said.

Another railway officer said the ill-fated coach was fit for travel and was certified by officials of the concerned division.

“The Railways will never use uncertified coaches for travel,” he said.

No explosion

Railway officials have strongly denied reports that an explosion had caused the fire.

S. Louis Amuthan, senior divisional security commissioner, said that had there been an explosion the impact would have been very high.

“Definitely this fire mishap did not involve any explosion. For the exact reason for the mishap, we must look to the forensic report,” he added.

Mistaken identity: body exhumed

Gulburga (GR): Authorities on Wednesday exhumed the body of a passenger killed in a fire on Bangalore-Nanded Express after it was confirmed by DNA tests that it was not the body of former Zilla Panchayat Member Bhimayya, who was charred to the death.

Four days ago, the railway authorities had handed over the body, saying it was that of Bhimayya.

According to sources, the railway authorities had arrived at the conclusion based on the identification done by the victim’s daughter.

The body was brought to the Kurkunta village in Sedam taluk, the native place of the victim, and buried after rituals.

But Bhimayya’s family was shocked to learn on Wednesday that the body was that not of Bhimayya but of Ishwar Nagare from Maharashtra.

The Andhra police arrived at Kurkunta village on Wednesday, exhumed the body and took it away. Police sources said that even as the body was being exhumed in Kurkunta, Bhimayya’s last remains were handed over to his relatives in Bangalore.

The body was expected to reach Gulbarga late on Wednesday night and the cremation would be carried out on Thursday.