Mamata seeks CBI probe into train accident

Kolkata, May 29 (IANS) Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Friday’s train accident in Jhargram, terming it her political rivals’ conspiracy ahead of Sunday’s civic polls in West Bengal.

‘We have asked for a proper investigation, preferably by the CBI,’

she told reporters here.

In an indirect reference to the state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), she said: ‘I don’t know who has done the heinous crime. But whoever has done it, it’s a political conspiracy. I have requested the union home ministry to conduct a probe.’

Asserting that it was an act of sabotage, Banerjee said she heard suspected Maoists say that it was perpetrated by the CPI-M.

‘I don’t know. I do feel bad. Why should such things be done to serve political interests two days before the polls?’ she asked.

Banerjee also rejected the CPI-M’s stand that she should accept moral responsibility for the Gyaneshwari Express accident in which 108 died.

‘Had it been an accident, I would have considered (accepting responsibility). But it was an act of sabotage,’ she said.

The minister regretted that the railways were being made a soft target by miscreants. ‘At Jharsuguda (in Orissa), bombs were found. One should not play politics with the railways because it is the cheapest mode of transport.’

She also appealed to all state governments to make security arrangements in order to ensure safety of train passengers.

‘Law and order is a state subject. So all state governments should think about making foolproof security arrangements,’ she said.

When a reporter referred to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the railways at the Jhargram Government Railway Police Station that mentioned ‘unidentified miscreants’ and the Maoist guerrillas, she said: ‘The train driver as the first witness has filed an explosives (act) case. We have asked for a proper investigation, preferably by the CBI.’

‘Till the probe ends, we cannot comment on whether the Maoists are involved. Gelatine sticks were also found at the spot. Whatever be the cause of explosion, we are not inquiring on our own. That’s the reason we have asked for a CBI probe,’ she said.

‘And, moreover, now that we have filed the FIR, it is for the state administration to investigate and find out the reason,’ she added.