Findings of Commissioner of Railway Safety awaited

The Andhra Pradesh State Forensic Science Laboratory (APSFSL) here has detected both burnt and unburnt crackers in a quantity sufficient enough to cause high intensity fire on board the ill-fated Tamil Nadu Express.

The train which caught fire near Nellore resulted in the death of about 35 passengers.

Crackers and materials that went into the making of fireworks were found from the remnants of the burnt S 11 coach, the APSFSL Director O. Narasimha Murthy said.

The fire originated in the bay of seat numbers 53 to 58 but what initiated it was not known. The intensity of the fire was more in bays 6 (for seats 53 to 58), 7 and 8. The burning of crackers accompanied by wind owing to movement of train propagated the fire, Mr. Murthy added.

On the chemicals used in the fireworks, he said they included potassium chlorate, potassium chloride, sulphur, aluminium and magnesium. There were different varieties of crackers of various brands and these included hydrogen bombs, which were sound producing and flower pots.

No explosives or inflammable material were found in the bogey. There were also no short-circuit effects. A huge smoke was generated by the crackers.

The report of APSFSL met with lukewarm response from the officials of railway police who are investigating the case.

The Additional Director General of Railway Police V.S.K. Kaumudi said the report was an input to the overall analysis, including oral evidence. It would be corroborated with the report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety which is awaited and circumstantial evidence.

The Superintendent of Railway Police at Guntakal P. Muni Swamy said the forensic report was not conclusive proof as the findings of the Commissioner of Railway Safety alone would be considered for arriving at the conclusion.

The report of the Commissioner will be expert opinion for all practical purposes and it will be discussed at the highest level in police before taking the final stand.

No doubt, the Commissioner will also take into account the forensic findings, he added.