One more arrested for West Bengal train sabotage


Kolkata: A 25-year-old pro-Maoist activist has been arrested for his alleged involvement in the sabotage that triggered the Gyaneshwari Express train derailment in West Bengal last month killing 148 people, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said Saturday. This is the fourth arrest in the case.

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Bholanath Mahato, an active member of Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), was arrested from near Khemasuli village close to Jhargram in West Midnapore district late Friday night, a CBI official said.

Mahato was allegedly involved in cutting open the pandrol clips (used to fix the rail to the sleeper) which resulted in the train’s derailment.

Bholanath, a resident of of Lalgeria village under Jhargram police station, has been charged under various sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), CBI Additional Director General (Media and Communication) Harsh Bhal told IANS.

He was presented Saturday before a lower court in Jhargram, which remanded him to 10 days police custody.

The Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Express derailed May 28 between Sardiha and Khemasuli stations. A freight train approaching from the opposite direction then rammed into five derailed coaches, resulting in high casualties.

Following the incident, the state police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) initiated an inquiry, but the central government later asked the CBI to probe the matter following a demand from Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The CID handed over the case to the CBI June 10.

While the CID nabbed two people – Khagen Mahato and Samir Mahato – the CBI had arrested one suspect, Hiralal Mahato, for his alleged involvement in the case. But all the prime accused are still evading arrest.

The CBI Thursday declared a reward of Rs.1 lakh each for anyone providing information about the three prime accused – Umakant Mahato of Banksole village, Manoj alias Bapi Mahato of Rasua village and Asit Mahato of Krishnanagar village in West Midnapore district.