India’s Railway Ministry has called for an investigation by the country’s top detective agency into the devastating train crash that claimed 275 lives. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw made the announcement, though further details were not provided. Investigations led by the railways are already underway, with initial reports suggesting a signal fault as the cause of the crash. The collision involving three trains on Friday night has been labelled as India’s worst rail accident of the century, leaving over 1,000 injured and many families still searching for their loved ones.
The reason behind the Railway Board’s recommendation for a separate inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) remains unclear, as other investigations have already commenced. The CBI typically handles high-profile criminal cases, including severe financial frauds and murders. On Sunday, Vaishnaw mentioned that the “root cause” of the accident and those responsible for the “criminal act” had been identified, with a “change in electronic interlocking” being the probable cause. He urged the public to await the final report.
Vaishnaw stated that a report by the Commissioner of Railway Safety would be made public soon, revealing the cause of the accident. The railways announced on Sunday that the Coromandel Express’s engine and coaches collided with a goods train due to a signal fault and a “change in electronic interlocking”. In railway signalling, the electronic interlocking system sets routes for each train within a designated area, ensuring safe train movement along the tracks.
The collision’s impact caused the Coromandel Express’s coaches to be thrown onto a third track, where they collided with the rear carriages of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express travelling at high speed. It is estimated that over 3,000 passengers were aboard the two passenger trains.
Atul Karwal, chief of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), reported that the collision’s force left several coaches crushed, with rescuers needing to cut through the wreckage to reach passengers. Hundreds of ambulances, doctors, nurses, and rescue personnel worked for 18 hours at the scene to rescue passengers and recover bodies.
Vaishnaw announced on Sunday night that train movement had been restored on the railway tracks where the accident occurred. Several passengers are still reported missing. Opposition leaders have urged Vaishnaw to accept responsibility for the tragedy and resign, while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has asked them not to politicise the accident.
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