Monday, July 22
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“Arrests Made: Three Railway Workers Detained in Connection with Odisha Train Tragedy”

Odisha Train Mishap: Arun Kumar Mahanta, Md Amir Khan, and Pappu Kumar, the apprehended individuals, face charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and destruction of evidence in relation to the incident.

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) apprehended three Indian Railways employees on Friday in relation to the tragic train accident in Balasore, Odisha, which occurred last month, claiming the lives of over 293 individuals and causing injuries to more than 1,000 others. The CBI had initiated an investigation into a potential criminal conspiracy surrounding the incident.

The detained individuals, identified as Senior Section Engineer (signal) Arun Kumar Mahanta, Section Engineer Mohammed Amir Khan, and Technician Pappu Kumar, now face charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and destruction of evidence.

According to sources, the ongoing investigation has revealed that the actions of the three individuals led to the occurrence of the accident. They have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder based on the fact that “they had knowledge” that their actions would result in this tragedy, but there was no evidence of intent to cause murder.

The Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS), who conducted an inquiry into the accident, determined that human error by the workers in the signalling department was responsible for the incident. The CRS dismissed the possibilities of sabotage, technical glitches, or machine faults. The CRS report highlighted negligence on the part of some ground officials who failed to follow proper safety procedures, especially after changes were made to the design three years ago due to safety concerns.

The independent inquiry report submitted by the CRS to the Railway Board mentioned that the station manager of Bahanaga Bazar, the accident site, should have reported the repeated unusual behavior of switches connecting the parallel tracks to the S&T (Signal and Telecommunication) staff. The report also revealed a similar incident on May 16, 2022, at Bankranayabaz station in the Kharagpur Division, caused by wrong wiring and cable faults.

The report stated that if corrective measures had been taken after the Bankranayabaz incident to address the issue of wrong wiring, the accident at BNBR would have been prevented. Referring to the CRS report, the Congress party accused the Narendra Modi government of compromising railway safety and claimed that the incident exposed the failure of both the management and the political leadership.

Following the accident, Archana Joshi, the General Manager of South Eastern Railway, was recently removed from her position, and Anil Kumar Mishra assumed the role.

The tragic incident involved three trains – the Kolkata-Chennai Coromandel Express, the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, and a goods train – making it one of the worst railway disasters in the country in the past two decades.