Odisha Train Accident Updates: The Odisha government has revised the final death toll of the triple train tragedy in Balasore to 288, including 39 deceased from the state itself. Of these 288 bodies, 205 have been identified so far and handed over to their families, while the remaining 83 are kept at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar and other hospitals for identification, according to Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena.
“We have asked the Balasore collector to compile the details of bodies recovered from the tracks, those who died in the hospitals… After compiling all, the collectors today informed us that the final death toll is 288,” said Jena.
The government had reported the toll figure of 288 earlier as well, but then revised it downwards to 275, stating that some of the bodies were counted twice. It was then raised to 278, and further to 288 again.
Odisha Train Tragedy Latest Updates:
▶Inquiry official disagrees with preliminary findings: A senior official who was part of the Indian Railways’ five-member inquiry committee which conducted a preliminary investigation into the circumstances that led to the tragic train accident, has disagreed with certain findings in the team, according to a report by The Hindu.
Senior Section Engineer A.K. Mahanta claimed that he did not agree with the finding that the Point (17A) was set for the loop line. “Based on observations from data logger report the point was set for normal side (main line). It may be reserve after derailment (sic),” the report quoted him as saying.
▶Coromandel Express passes through accident site: Four days after the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express was involved in a triple train accident near Bahanagar Bazar station in Odisha’s Balasore district, the down train from Chennai crossed the accident site at 30kmph on Tuesday.
More than 70 trains including Vande Bharat Express have so far crossed through Bahanaga Bazar Station since both the up and down lines were restored on Sunday night.
▶CBI Begins Investigation: A CBI team on Tuesday began an investigation into allegations of criminal negligence leading to the Balasore railway accident involving three trains, with officials saying the agency may take the views of rail safety experts to get to the bottom of the case.
A team of six CBI officials led by Joint Director Special Crime Viplav Kumar Choudhry inspected the main line and loop line and also went to the signal room where it met railway officials.
The central probe agency was roped in by the Ministry of Railways after a preliminary inquiry flagged possible tampering with the electronic interlocking system, which detects the presence of trains, and officials suspected “sabotage” behind the Friday accident.
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.
▶Culpability of railway staff not been ascertained in FIR, says CBI: CBI said on Tuesday that it has accessed a copy of the FIR lodged in connection with the Balasore train accident. The FIR states that the culpability of specific railway employees has not been ascertained at present, and it will be determined during the course of the investigation.
The FIR states that at 6:55 p.m. on June 2, due to a collision between Train No-12841 Howrah-Channel Coromandal Express and Train No-12864 Yesvantpur-Howrah Express, the carriages of both the trains capsized, causing the death hundreds of passengers.
The FIR has been lodged under sections 337, 338, 304A, and 34 of the IPC and sections 153, 154, and 175 of the Railway Act.
Out of all these sections, only Section 153 of the Railway Act provides a maximum sentence of five years, while the other sections have provisions for two years or less of punishment.
▶Mamata Visiting Odisha to Meet Injured in Train Crash to Get Political Dividend, says BJP: The BJP on Tuesday alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Odisha to meet injured people of the Balasore triple train crash was to “get political dividend”.
The saffron camp also claimed that many train mishaps had taken place during Banerjee’s tenure as the railway minister. The ruling TMC slammed the BJP over such allegations, asserting that the saffron camp was trying to “malign the image of its chairperson to divert attention from the Centre’s all-round failure”.
Banerjee on Tuesday again visited injured passengers of the ill-fated Coromandel Express, who are currently undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Cuttack.
▶System flaw, repair work near accident site or sabotage? CBI to probe 3 theories: A repair work going on at a level-crossing near the accident site that disrupted the Electronic Interlocking; a deliberate manipulation with the system; a flaw or glitch in the system that was also highlighted from an accident averted in February — these are the three major theories that have emerged as a possible reason of the horrific Odisha train accident that has killed over 275 people last week. READ MORE
▶40 Passengers may have been electrocuted: A police officer, who was in charge of the rescue operation, alleged that at least 40 bodies which were recovered from the wrecked coaches had no external injury marks. He alleged that the victims may have been electrocuted by live overhead cables that fell on the compartments.
The officer’s observation is consistent with the First Information Report (FIR) lodged by Government Railway Police sub-inspector Papu Kumar Naik, which states that many passengers died due to the impact of the collision and electrocution after coming into contact with a low-tension (LT) line.
▶Crash 100% sabotage, says Dinesh Trivedi: Following the triple train crash in Odisha’s Balasore district on June 2, former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi was the first to mention the likelihood of sabotage. Hours after the incident he told News 18 that the “possibility of sabotage behind the accident cannot be ruled out”.
The crash, believed to be one of the worst in nature and in terms of casualties, killed 288 passengers and injured around 900. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, and a goods train were involved in the accident.
▶Crash result of ‘deliberate interference’ with interlocking system: CBI initiated its investigation into the Balasore train accident, with railway officials reiterating that the crash occurred due to “deliberate interference” with the electronic interlocking system.