M A I N   N E W S

Cong bows to Mamata, orders CBI probe into train tragedy
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 2
The ruling UPA coalition led by the Congress today bowed to the demand of its key-yet-tempestuous ally, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. On her demand, a CBI probe has been ordered into last Friday’s train accident in which 148 persons lost their lives at Jhargram in West Bengal.

A sulking Mamata Banerjee, who is the Railway Minister in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet, created a furore yesterday when she refused to attend a Cabinet meeting, albeit under protest.

Her demand and also of her ministry was to have a CBI probe into the crash involving the Howrah-Gyaneshwari Express and a goods train. The Left-ruled West Bengal Government had turned down the request of the Centre saying its own probe was sufficient. Today’s turnaround of the government came within hours of an impressive performance put up by the Trinamool Congress in the municipal elections in West Bengal.

This afternoon, the Central Government used its powers to order a CBI probe as the accident had taken place on railway land. The CBI derives its powers from the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, 1946. The government used its powers under Section 5 of the Act which says “ ….Central Government may by order extend (the Act) to any area, including Railway areas, …. the powers and jurisdiction (of the CBI)”.

Sources said the earlier request was made to the West Bengal Government under Section 6 of the said Act but that was turned down by the state. The state has now agreed for a joint probe after the Central Government evoked its own powers.

The CBI will now head a joint investigation team that will have members of the Railway Protection Force and the CID wing of the West Bengal Police. A formal notification will be issued. In this case, the CBI investigating officers will be vested with powers to complete legal formalities.

After the train accident, the issue of ordering a CBI probe had become like a political football between, the Congress, the Trinamool and the Left.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said he suspected the hand of Maoists. Mamata Banerjee had alleged her political rivals had conspired to cause the accident ahead of Sunday’s civic polls in West Bengal. She termed it as a “political conspiracy” and contrary to the Home Minister’s stand went to give a “clean chit” to the Maoists. The Left had joined in saying there was no need for a CBI probe.

4 suspected Naxals held

Jhargram: Four suspected Naxalites were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the Gyaneshwari train derailment in the first breakthrough in investigations into the disaster that has been blamed on Maoists. Sources said the 202 Battalion of Special Action Force and the state police apprehended Lalto Mahto, Dilip Mahto, Ashit Mahto and Kamlesh Mahto from Guimera village under Jhargram police station.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |