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India’s CBI takes over probe into Odisha train crash after initial inquiry suspects sabotage

Talking to reporters in Odisha on Sunday (4), railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “We have recommended a CBI probe into the triple train accident….”

An army helicopter flies above the carriage wreckage of a three-train collision near Balasore, in India’s eastern state of Odisha, on June 3, 2023. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

India’s elite investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over the probe into the deadly triple-train crash in Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha on June 2 that killed 278 people and left more than 1,100 injured, after registering a first information report (FIR), officials said on Tuesday (6).

The CBI was roped in after a preliminary inquiry flagged tampering with the electronic interlocking system, which detects the presence of trains, and officials suspected “sabotage” behind the accident.

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The agency, which has little expertise in dealing with the functioning of railways, might need the help of rail security and forensic experts to get to the bottom of the case, the officials said.

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Following the procedure, the central agency took over the FIR registered by the Balasore Government Railway Police on Saturday (3) under the Indian Penal Code’s sections 337, 338, 304A (causing death by negligence) and 34 (common intention), and sections 153 (unlawful and negligent action endangering lives of Railway passengers ), 154 and 175 (endangering lives) of the Railways Act.

According to the procedure, the CBI re-registers the local police case as its own FIR and starts the probe. It can add or remove a charge from the FIR in its charge sheet filed after its investigation.

Talking to reporters in Odisha on Sunday (4), railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “We have recommended a CBI probe into the triple train accident….”

The crash involved two speeding passenger trains and a stationary goods train. The incident occurred when the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express rammed into a goods train after entering the loop line, resulting in derailment of its coaches. It was then when the Bengaluru-Kolkata Superfast Express rammed into them.

(With PTI inputs)

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