Rajya Rani Express Derailment: GRP lodges FIR against Railway officials

Agencies bicker over Rajya Rani crash cause. After eight bogies of Lucknow-bound Rajya Rani Express derailed in Moradabad on Saturday, Railways rules out sabotage, UP ATS differs

LUCKNOW: Eight bogies of Lucknow-bound Rajya Rani Express derailed between Rampur and Mundapanda stations in Moradabad at 8.17 am on Saturday, apparently due to broken track.

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) theory of sabotage in Saturday’s derailment of Lucknow bound Rajya Rani Express got credence on Sunday when Government Railway Police (GRP), Rampur lodged an FIR against unidentified Indian Railways’ officers and employees under Railways Act, 1989.

The FIR should cause embarrassment and worry also to Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister, and also railway authorities. It is for the first time in recent years that an FIR was lodged against officers and employees of railways squarely holding them responsible for the derailment, in which many passengers were injured.

The GRP Rampur said in the FIR that when they reached the derailment site they saw that a part of the railway track was fractured. Many of the passengers, eye-witnesses and also the Uttar Pradesh ATS, which has been entrusted with the task of holding the inquiry by the Union minister, also corroborated same.

The FIR has been lodged against unidentified Raliways’ officers and employees under Sections 137, 287, 338, 427 and 154 of the Railways Act, 1989 and began the probe separately.

The FIR categorically holds the Railways responsible for the derailment of the train.

Though the Railways ruled out any sabotage or act of terror, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which has been entrusted with the task of probing derailment is baffled by over a metre of uprooted track at the mishap site.

The Meerut-Lucknow 22454 was at a bridge over river Kosi, about 4 kms from Rampur and about 20 kms from Moradabad in Western UP, when the derailment happened. According to the police and Railways, 12 persons were injured, three of them critically. Eye-witness, however, claim that over 60 passengers sustained injuries.

UP Chief Minister Adityanath announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for other injured passengers. He also rushed his Cabinet colleague Baldev Aulkah to the spot to supervise relief work and ensure that injured were given proper treatment at Rampur and Moradabad hospitals.

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted to institute an inquiry and rushed NDRF and Railways’ officers to the spot, one of the busiest rail route in the sector. After visiting the spot, a senior railway officer told that the derailment was due to cracks on welded track.

“The welding joining two tracks seems to have chipped out, breaking the track and resulting in derailment,” said the officer. The UP ATS, which also rushed a team, however, refused to believe the theory as over a metre of track was found uprooted at the spot.

“If the track’s welding had chipped off then how come over a metre track was found broken?” questions a senior ATS officer adding that they will “look into all aspects”.

A similar incident of broken track was reported from Agra two months earlier. One of the gangmen had seen the broken track and timely action by Railways had saved any derailment there. During the course of the inquiry, a few recent derailment incidents between Kanpur and Jhansi were suspected to be terror acts after the UP ATS arrested a few terrorists belonging to different modules.

The UP ATS has found two unidentified clamps a few metres away from the derailment spot and will send it for forensic examination. The ATS team is also seeking information from Railways’ engineering wing about the process of welding two tracks instead of adopting century-old nut and bolt system which is used world over.