CBI files charge-sheet against three arrested Railway officials in Balasore triple train collision case


Derailed coaches of the Coromandal express are seen on its accident spot at Bahanaga railway station in Balasore district of Odisha. File

Derailed coaches of the Coromandal express are seen on its accident spot at Bahanaga railway station in Balasore district of Odisha. File
| Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge-sheet against three Railway officials in connection with the triple train collision in Odisha’s Balasore on June 2, which led to the death of nearly 291 people.

Among those arraigned are Arun Kumar Mahanta, who worked as a Senior Sectional Engineer (Signal) in Balasore; Mohammed Amir Khan, then posted as Sectional Engineer in Soro; and technician Pappu Kumar, who was posted in Balasore.

The agency has invoked Sections 304 (Part II), pertaining to an act committed with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death but without any intention to cause death or any bodily injury as is likely to cause death; 34 (common intention) read with 201 (causing disappearance of evidence and giving false information); and 153 (endangering safety of persons travelling by railway by wilful act or omission) of the Railways Act.

The CBI has alleged that the three officials attempted to destroy evidence to evade detection of their role, following the collision.

Along with forensic experts, the agency officials had earlier visited the collision site after taking over the probe to gather evidence. They recorded statements of the officials concerned and also examined the signalling system to determine if there was any foul play, technical glitch, or human error leading to the incident.

An inquiry team found that a fault in the wiring in a location box (which has cables that control signalling functions) near Bahanaga Bazaar Railway Station had gone undetected by the Signal and Telecom (S&T) staff. The Commission of Railway Safety noted in its report that the rear collision had occurred owing to certain “lapses in the signalling-circuit-alteration” at a north signal cabin of Bahanaga Bazaar Railway Station.

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Irregularities in the execution of signalling work connected to the replacement of the Electric Lifting Barrier (ELB) at the Level Crossing Gate 94 were also allegedly detected. The notes logged in the data logger device from 3 p.m. to 11.58 p.m. on June 2 were also examined to reconstruct the sequence of events.

As alleged, the senior Railway officials found that about four hours after the accident, Mr. Mahanta had come to know from the test room that the indication of the point was still showing normal, although the point machines were damaged. Also, a labelling mistake had allegedly gone unnoticed by the ground staff since 2018.

When the wiring work on the control operation of the ELB was being done, the S&T staff had taken F23 and F24 terminals as “spare”, as shown in circuit diagrams, and rewired the new ELB connection to those terminals. Consequently, the feed coming from crossover 17A/B, the place where the accident took place, to 17 NWKR circuit was disconnected, due to which the indication feed of green signal was de-linked from the ground status, it was alleged.


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