The West Bengal government on Friday acknowledged receiving the formal notification from the Union Home Ministry on a CBI probe into the May 28 derailment of the Jnaneswari Express. But the “terms of reference” are yet to arrive, Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen told journalists here.
“The CID investigation, which was ordered by the State government, will not be wound up immediately. It will be decided only after we receive the terms of reference.”
Though both the State government and the Centre have, on prima facie evidence, accused Maoists of sabotage, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has been vocal about a “political conspiracy” behind the incident in Paschim Medinipur district, in which 150 people were killed. She was among the first to demand a CBI inquiry.
The State government earlier ruled out a CBI probe, citing the progress in investigations made by the State's Criminal Investigation Department.
‘Key man' arrested
Meanwhile, the CID arrested one person from Kharagpur late on Thursday. It claimed that Khagen Mahato, a resident of Chanapara village near Sardiha, ferried the saboteurs in his pick-up van to and from the derailment site in the early hours of May 28. The van has also been seized.
Calling him “one of the key persons” in the crime, Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh said Mahato could give valuable information on the extent of involvement of other suspects.
Several local leaders of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee, including Bapi Mahato and Umakanta Mahato, are already under the police scanner after the CID allegedly learnt, from mobile phone intercepts, about their active involvement in the sabotage.
On Friday Mr. Mahato was produced in a Jhargram court and remanded to police custody till June 13.