NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented move, Ministry of Railways Sunday decided to send member engineer AK Mittal, a secretary-level officer, on leave along with general manager of Northern Railway R N Kulshrestha and divisional railway manager (Delhi) R N Singh based on prima facie evidence in the Utkal Express derailment.
According to a senior railway officer, it is for the first time a Railway Board member has been sent on leave holding responsible for derailment. In the 1970s, the then chairman of Railway Board, B C Ganguly, was sacked for a different reason but a move like this has never happened before.
Railway Board member Mohd Jamshed has accepted that the accident might be result of maintenance work done by Railways without any prior caution to driver to slow down.
According to an official statement issued by the Ministry, the Railway Board has also transferred chief track engineer, Northern Railway, and all other senior officials of engineering department have been suspended. These include junior engineer (permanent way), senior section engineer, assistant divisional engineer, senior divisional engineer—all from Northern Railway.
JE (Permanent way) is responsible safe running of trains by ensuring maintenance of tracks, sleepers, fasteners and is supposed to conduct regular inspections. GM North Central M C Chauhan has been given the additional charge of GM Northern Railway and Anshul Gupta, Executive Director (Telecom developent) will temporarily look Delhi DRM work. Action against top brass has not gone down well among railway officers as some of whom feel it’s a knee jerk reaction.
Meanwhile, an FIR was lodged under sections 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 304a (causing death by negligence) and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of Railway Act against unknown persons.