The passengers onboard Rajdhani Express headed to Ahmedabad from Mumbai had a narrow escape Friday after the train hit a cement pole placed on the tracks by unidentified elements allegedly to derail the train.
A complaint filed by Valsad Station Master Sudhanshu Sharma at the rural police station says the incident took place on the down track of Atul Railway station in Valsad on the evening of Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti). The incident came to light when the loco pilot, who felt the train hit an object as the August Kranti Rajdhani Express passed the down track, stopped the train a few metres further. Police said the loco pilot, on further examination, found a cement pole broken into pieces lying nearby. He informed the Valsad station master about the incident and continued his journey towards Ahmedabad after finding the train to be unaffected.
Soon, the technical teams of the Valsad railway station examined the tracks, said a Valsad Railway official. Laying of the track was in progress near the railway tracks. It has been alleged that the unidentified accused uprooted a cement pole barbed with wire from the nearby fencing area around 35 feet from the tracks and placed it vertically on the down railway track.
The railway officials claim the six-feet cement pole was laid in only 23 minutes by some unknown person as a goods train had passed by safely before the Rajdhani. “The barbed wire fencing with cement poles were kept to prevent the entry of grazing cattle on the tracks. The fencing work was done around a year ago. The work of another track for the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India was in progress and several labourers were involved in the work. The scheduled time of the Rajdhani Express to pass the Valsad railway station was 7:10 pm, and prior to that, a goods train had passed on the same track at 6:47 pm. We talked to the goods train driver who told us his train had passed safely on the tracks. We suspect some notorious element placed the cement pole vertically on the down track towards Ahmedabad in just 23 minutes,” said station master Sharma.
An FIR has been filed under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder), 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) and the Railways Act 150 (maliciously wrecking or attempting to wreck a train), 151 (damage to the railway property), 152 (maliciously hurting the persons travelling by train). The police have constituted five teams to identify the culprit. “We will question the contractor and labourers working in the nearby areas,” said Rajdeep Sinh Zala, Valsad SP.