Hirakhand Exp derailment: NIA team inspects accident site

New Delhi: An NIA team on Monday inspected the accident site of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express in Vizianagaram, in which 39 people lost their lives two days ago, to ascertain if it was a terror act as the Railways has suspected sabotage.

Official sources said the team is looking into whether there was a terror angle involved or the accident was due to technical or human error.
Railway Safety Commissioner Ram Kripal who conducted the preliminary probe said, “We have gathered information and will compile it for a detained report.”

“If needed, an inquiry commission would be set up to probe into the mishap,” noted Kripal.

With the Railways suspecting sabotage, Home Ministry was exploring the option of handing over the investigations to NIA, which is nodal agency to probe terror-related cases.

The NIA is also looking into the claims of three persons, arrested from Bihar, that derailment of Indore-Patna train on November 20 last year, in which 150 people lost their lives, was caused due to sabotage by Pakistan’s ISI.

The probe agency, however, had “so far” found no evidence or input to this effect during its probe.

Uttar Pradesh Police has also rubbished the claims of any sabotage in the Railway accident.

Moti Paswan, Uma Shankar and Mukesh Yadav, arrested last week from East Champaran district of Bihar, had claimed that they have received Rs 3 lakh to plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at Ghorasahan railway station in the district on October 1 last year.

Bihar Police had reportedly recovered the IEDs.

A team of NIA officials has already gone to Bihar to question the accused and verify their claim.

The trio had reportedly “confessed” to the possible role of ISI in the last year’s derailment. They also claimed to be working for the ISI, the sources said.

At least 39 people lost their lives due to the derailment of Hirakhand Express at Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh last night.

Odisha Police, however, ruled out involvement of Naxals in the mishap.

“There is no indication of Maoist’s hand behind the derailment,” Odisha DGP K B Singh had said.

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