Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Crime Investigation Department (CID) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) have reached the Hirakhand Express accident site in Andhra Pradesh’s Kuneru (in Vizianagaram district) on Monday to probe alleged Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) involvement in the tragedy.
At least 41 people were killed and over 60 injured after the engine and nine coaches of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed on Saturday at 11.30 pm near Kuneru station, 24 km from Rayagada in Odisha.
The officials said. “The Home Ministry may ask the NIA to see if the derailment in Andhra Pradesh today was a subversive act. The NIA can expand the scope of their ongoing probe.”
The National Investigation Agency is looking into the claims of three arrested persons Moti Paswan, Uma Shankar and Mukesh Yadav who were arrested last week from East Champaran district of Bihar for the derailment of Indore-Patna express on November 20, 2016 in which at least 150 people were killed.
NIA is already probing the alleged role of Pakistan’s Inter Services Agency or ISI behind the Indore-Patna Express derailment near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said there are indications of foul play as a goods train passed the same track just two hours before the mishap, which occurred in the Naxal-prone zone as the Andhra-Odisha border area is considered a Maoist stronghold.
But according to railways, prima facie there was rail fracture which caused the derailment. But it is not yet confirmed whether the fracture was due to sabotage or because of negligence and lack of maintenance.
Dinesh Trivedi a former Railway Minister on Monday rejected allegations of ‘sabotage’ and criticised Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for failing to control rising number of train accidents in the country.
Trivedi said, “If the system is not safe, railway minister should have stopped the train because we can’t risk a single life…the system has been totally collapsed..I have report that Indian Railways has gone bankrupt”.