An engineer of the Eastern Central Railway in Bihar has allegedly sold off a vintage steam engine as scrap in connivance with several railway officials.
The shocking case recently came to light following which the Samastipur diesel shed’s engineer Rajeev Ranjan Jha and helper Sushil Yadav were suspended and an FIR was registered in the matter.
On 14 December, 2021, Rajeev Ranjan Jha and Sushil Yadav were found getting an steam engine at the Purnia court railway station dismantled with the aid of gas cutters.
As the old steam engine, a relic of railway history, has been lying at the Purnia court station for more than three decades, Purnia outpost Railway Protection Force (RPF) in-charge MM Rahman found its dismantling unusual and doubted the engineer.
But the accused promptly showed Rahman an “order” issued by the divisional mechanical engineer (DME) for dismantling the steam engine and taking it back to the Samastipur railway shed.
On 15 December, a constable posted at the railway shed saw a mention in the register about the entry of a vehicle with the steam engine. But he could not find the steam engine when he looked for it in the shed.
The dismantled steam engine was actually sold on way to the Samastipur railway shed, about 180 km from the Purnia court station, which comes under the Samastipur division of the Eastern Central Railway.
The “DME order” was also found to be forged. After DME Sanjay Paswan confirmed to the Purnia court station RPF in-charge that he had not issued any such order, a case of forgery and criminal conspiracy was filed on 19 December against Jha, Yadav and five other officials at the Banmankhi RPF post on Rahman’s complaint. The accused are reported to be absconding.
Samastipur divisional railway manager (DRM) Alok Agrawal told reporters that after suspending the accused engineer and the helper, a sub-inspector posted at the diesel shed, Virendra Dwivedi, was also suspended for negligence of duty.
The DRM called the sale of the old steam engine “a breach of trust” by railway insiders.
Samastipur divisional safety commissioner AK Lal said the department was trying to find out where the steam locomotive was sold as scrap. Its price was also being ascertained.
The Purnia Court railway station is one of the oldest railway stations in Bihar. It is marked as the “last station” under the Eastern Central Railway in the state.