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CBI begins investigation into Balasore train accident, files FIR

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NEW DELHI: The CBI on Tuesday started its investigation into alleged criminal negligence leading to the Balasore train accident which claimed 278 lives after registering an FIR, officials said.

A team of CBI officials, along with forensic experts, has reached Balasore district in Odisha and started the probe immediately after the registration of the FIR Tuesday afternoon, they said.

The central probe agency was roped in by the Ministry of Railways after a preliminary inquiry flagged tampering with the electronic interlocking system, which detects the presence of trains, and officials suspected “sabotage” behind the Friday accident.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case on the request of Ministry of Railways, consent of the Odisha government and further orders from DoPT (Govt. of India) relating to the train accident involving Coromandel Express, Yashwantpur-Howrah Express and a goods train at Bahanaga Bazar in the state of Odisha on 2nd June, 2023,” the CBI spokesperson said.

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

Following the laid down procedure, the central agency took over the FIR registered by the Balasore GRP on June 3 under IPC 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, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said, “We have recommended a CBI probe into the triple train accident….”

The three-train crash occurred around 7 PM on Friday near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore district.

The accident, one of the worst train tragedies in the country, claimed 278 lives and left more than 1,100 people injured.

Both passenger trains were at high speed, and experts have cited it as one of the main reasons for the high number of casualties. (PTI)

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