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Man's 'track sabotage' tip-off alarms railways, police

Investigators from several police agencies across the nation, including those from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Uttar Pradesh police, and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) under the railway ministry are working on a tip-off from a man who claimed to have been trained by some people to ‘loosen’ railway tracks in such a way that it derails a train resulting in mass casualty. The man is a resident of Jaunpur’s Poni area in Uttar Pradesh, sources said.

The man, who first provided this information to an alert citizen in Kurla, said that he got this ‘training’ in the last week of December, after Christmas, at some desolate stretches of the rail route between Allahabad and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. According to police, the person he confided in, informed the RPF unit of the Central Railways, who in turn roped in the ATS unit of Maharashtra police. Soon, other central agencies along with the railway police of UP started investigating it, sources said.

“This man has said that a person named Suresh trained him and some others to derail trains quickly, and is offering Rs 70,000 per person for attempting this. An all-round investigation involving several agencies is currently on to verify this person’s claim,” said a top-ranking officer of UP police.

On Friday, the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the railway districts of Allahabad, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Jhansi, and Agra in UP sent letters to their subordinates asking them to mount a massive track-checking exercise along with the RPF to find out more about the man’s claim.

Tracks are held on to the sleepers — concrete blocks that are laid on the gravel-like ballast — with the help of elastic rail clips, and tracks are linked to each other with the help of metal plates called fish-plates.

Detailed queries sent to UP railway police Director General Gopal Gupta, RPF Director General SK Bhagat, and Maharashtra ATS Additional Director General Atul Kulkarni did not elicit a response till the time of going to the press.