Different UPA voices on cause of rail accident

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Ministers of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Friday spoke in different voices on the cause of the rail accident in West Midnapore district of West Bengal that killed at least 76 people.

While Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said the blast was caused by a blast, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said he suspected sabotage behind the derailment of the Mumbai-bound train. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who belongs to West Bengal, said he did not know the reason of the accident and would not comment on it.

Banerjee, who visited the site of accident in Jhargram, told reporters that the mishap occurred due to a bomb blast which blew up a portion of the tracks.

The minister said the timing of the blast coincided with the arrival of a speeding freight train, which tore into three of the coaches of the derailed Gyaneshwari Express.

‘It is the sheer timing. That’s the reason the tragedy took a turn for the worst,’ the railway minister said.

Chidambaram said he suspected sabotage behind the derailment of the train though it was unclear whether explosives were used.

‘It appears to be a case of sabotage where a portion of the railway track was removed. Whether explosives were used is not yet clear,’ the minister said in a statement. The statement, however, did not directly blame Maoist guerrillas for the accident.

Mukherjee told reporters ‘I don’t exactly know the reason’ for the train accident and that he was not in a position to say if it was caused by a blast or sabotage.