National

No explosives on Kanpur rail track: IIT team

OFF THE TRACK: Derailment of the Indore-Rajendranagar Express near Kanpur claimed over 140 lives.

OFF THE TRACK: Derailment of the Indore-Rajendranagar Express near Kanpur claimed over 140 lives.  

Modi had said during U.P. election campaign that derailment was caused by conspiracy from across the border

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is all set to file a “final report” on the Kanpur and Kuneru train derailments after a team of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) experts submitted its findings that no explosives were found on the railway tracks.

The Indore-Rajendranagar Express derailed near Kanpur on November 20, 2016 and the accident claimed 152 lives. And on January 22 last year, over 40 people were killed when the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneshwar Express derailed near Kuneru in Andhra Pradesh .

The then railway minister Suresh Prabhu claimed the two accidents were a result of “sabotage” and had shot off a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding a probe by the NIA.

A senior government official said the team of IIT experts had submitted a “fat report” and the agency was studying it.

“The report does not suggest that the accidents were caused by any explosive device. The NIA will submit a final report. No person was ever arrested and we engaged the experts for a concrete opinion,” said the official.

The train accidents were politicised before the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017. During an election rally in Gonda on February 23 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the Kanpur train accident was “a conspiracy and the conspirators had carried it out sitting across the border.” Home Minister Rajnath Singh was questioned by parliamentarians regarding Mr. Modi’s statement whether Pakistan’s ISI was involved in the accident. Mr. Singh clarified that the “Prime Minister did not directly mention the ISI.”

Earlier, a report by the Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad said that “no traces of explosives were found” at the accident site in Kuneru.

Mr. Prabhu had alleged “sabotage” after Moti Paswan, arrested by Bihar Police in January 2017 for allegedly planting a pressure cooker bomb at Ghorasan in Bihar, claimed he had planted the bomb at Kanpur, which led to the train’s derailment. However, when an NIA team quizzed him, Paswan said he was only boasting about his involvement. UP police too had denied then that any explosion took place on the railway track.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:31:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nia-to-file-final-report-on-train-derailments/article22499920.ece

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