Maoist hand suspected in train disaster: Chidambaram

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram Monday said the Communist Party of India-Maoist was being suspected for the sabotage that caused the train accident in Jhargram in West Bengal Friday in which at least 150 passengers were killed.

‘The needle of suspicion points to the CPI-Maoist or its front organisation. The identity of the culprits can be established only after the investigation is over,’ Chidambaram told reporters here.

The home minister’s remark is contrary to what Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged – that her political rivals had conspired to cause the accident ahead of Sunday’s civic polls in West Bengal.

The Trinamool Congress chief has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the ‘political conspiracy’ behind the accident.

Chidambaram said the railway ministry had sought a CBI probe and the home ministry was awaiting a response from the the state government over it.

‘The ministry of railways has suggested a CBI inquiry. We have asked the West Bengal government’s views. We have not received their views,’ the home minister said.

The home minister also contradicted Banerjee, who had said that explosives were used to damage the railway track that led to derailment of the Mumbai-bound Gyaneshwari Express early Friday. The engine and 13 coaches of the train derailed. Five coaches rolled on to a parallel track and were hit by a freight train in the Maoist stronghold in West Midnapore district.

‘There is no trace of explosives,’ Chidambaram said.

‘The West Bengal government has on record said that there were no traces of explosives. Prima facie it appears that the tracks were cut and the pandrol clips removed,’ Chidambaram said.