The Railway Police on Thursday arrested A. Rajkumar, driver of a suburban train that met with an accident near Arakkonam on September 13, under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC, police sources said.
The Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) rammed the Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train near the Chitheri railway station in Vellore district, which left 11 persons dead and several others injured.
After documentary and technical evidence revealed negligence of the driver, a special team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Ponram arrested Rajkumar at the Moore Market Complex when he was about to board a train to Avadi on Thursday evening, the sources said.
According to the Inspector General of Police (Railways) Sunil Kumar, investigators had adequate evidence against the driver.
Though Rajkumar claimed that he had crossed the signal in green, investigation and statement of experts proved there was no possibility of the signal turning green as there was another train moving in the section. His claim that he had not used the phone were proved wrong by call details records.
Mr. Kumar said there was standing instruction that train drivers should not use their mobile phones while on duty unless in case of an emergency.
“In this case, he was speaking with his friend on personal matters. He might have crossed the red signal either deliberately or due to distraction caused by the use of mobile phone.”
Police investigated all angles, including the possibility of sabotage. “We examined many railway officials and recorded their statements. Southern Railway extended good cooperation by sharing information,” he said.
An investigator said that the accident was a clear case of negligence. The driver was speaking on phone just before the accident.
Instead of slowing down on seeing the signal in yellow, he crossed it at high speed (about 97 kmph). He then jumped the red signal and rammed the passenger train that was moving slowly.
Rajkumar was produced in court at Arakkonam and has been lodged in Vellore Central Prison, the sources said.