New Delhi, June 4
Giving credence to the sabotage theory, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday recommended a CBI probe into the Balasore train tragedy which claimed 275 lives.
Editorial: Safety first
“The way the accident took place and taking into account the situation and the information we have received so far, it has been decided to recommend a CBI probe,” Vaishnaw told reporters in Bhubaneswar on Sunday evening.
Bodies unclaimed, morgues run out of space
- Bodies unclaimed, Balasore facing space crunch in morgues
- State govt has shifted 187 of the bodies from Balasore to Bhubaneswar
- Authorities buying coffins, ice and formalin chemicals to preserve bodies
Oppn guns for minister
- Opposition parties stepped up pressure for Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's resignation
- Cong chief Mallikarjun Kharge called for fixing accountability from top to bottom
- Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee attacked Modi government, questioned death figures
Earlier in the day, he had said the cause of the accident was related to electric point machine and electronic interlocking. “The setting of the point machine was changed. How and why it was done will be revealed in the probe report. The root cause of the horrifying incident has been identified... Let the report come out. I will just say that the root cause and the people responsible for the criminal act have been identified,” he said.
Officials indicated at possible “sabotage” and “tampering” with the electronic interlocking system, which detects the presence of trains.
Top officials, while explaining how the point machine and the interlocking system function, said it “is a fail-safe system, which means that even if it fails, all signals will turn red and all train operations will stop”. “Now, as the minister said there was a problem with the signalling system, it could be that someone has done some digging without seeing the cables. Running of any machine is prone to failures,” said Jaya Verma Sinha, member of Operation and Business Development, Railway Board.
The officials ruled out driver error and system malfunction and said there was “no question of over-speeding”.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, NCP, TMC, CPI and the RJD, demanded Vaishnaw’s resignation with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge calling for fixing accountability from top to bottom.
Petition seeks probe by retired SC judge
A PIL in the Supreme Court has sought a direction to the Centre to set up a commission of inquiry, headed by a retired SC judge, and consisting of technical members to probe the train accident. The petition is likely to be mentioned on Monday for urgent listing.
(With PTI inputs)
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