Eighth suspect arrested in Gyaneshwari train tragedy (Lead)

August 1st, 2010 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 1 (IANS) A pro-Maoist activist has been arrested for his alleged involvement in the May 28 Gyaneshwari Express tragedy in West Bengal that killed 148 people, police said Sunday. A court later sent the suspect, the eighth to be caught in the case, to 10 days Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody.
Laxman Mahato, a People’s Committee against Police Activities (PCAPA) leader, was arrested Saturday night from Manikpara area in Jhargram for his alleged role in opening the pandrol clips (used to fix the rail to the sleeper) that caused the derailment of the Mumbai-bound train in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district.

“He was arrested by a police team from the Jhargram police district and later handed over to the CBI, which is probing the incident,” Inspector General (Western Range) Zulfiqar Hassan told IANS over the phone.

Laxman was produced before the additional judicial magistrate Sunday afternoon and remanded to 10 days CBI custody.

Laxman alias Dhun, a resident of Kshumgara in Manikpara, was arrested earlier by the Jhargram police July 1 on charges of arms smuggling and remanded in judicial custody. He came back home after being released on bail July 30.

“Laxman’s bail was granted July 29 and he was released on July 30,” his defence counsel Kaushik Sinha.

“Laxman was arrested on Saturday night when he was walking past a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp in Manikpara,” he added.

Earlier two prime accused in the alleged sabotage, Manik Mahato and Bapi Mahato, were arrested. However, two other prime accused Umakanto Mahato and Asit Mahato have so far managed to evade the security agencies.

The CBI has already declared a reward of Rs.1 lakh for providing information leading to their arrest.

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