Gyaneshwari disaster: Two pro-Maoist activists arrested (Lead)

August 8th, 2010 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 8 (IANS) Two pro-Maoist activists were arrested Sunday for their alleged involvement in the May 28 Gyaneshwari Express derailment in West Bengal in which 148 people were killed, police said.
People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) leaders Tapan Mahato and Altab Hossen were arrested from Manikpara area in Jhargram sub-division of West Midnapore district, said Jhargram Superintendent of Police Pravin Tripathy.

“Acting on a tip off, a raid was conducted jointly by police and sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Tapan and Altab were arrested from a jungle near Sardiha station,” Tripathy said.

“The accused have been handed over to the CBI sleuths, who are probing the derarilment and would be produced in court Monday,” said Tripathy.

The Mumbai-bound train ran off the rails near Jhargram after a portion of the tracks was sabotaged allegedly by the Maoists.

A speeding freight train then rammed into five derailed coaches of the Gyaneshwari Express, resulting in the casualties.

CBI Additional Director General (Media and Communication) Harsh Bhal said the investigation agency had earlier announced a cash reward of Rs.5.5 lakh for information leading to the arrest of eight accused, including Mahato and Hossen

The six other accused are Shashadhar Mahato, Jayanta Bhakta, Joydeb Mahato, Sanjoy Mahato, Laxmikant Roy and Bachan Manna.

Bhal said that a reward of Rs.2 lakh was announced for providing information leading to the arrest of Shashadhar Mahato, while a reward of Rs.50,000 each was announced for the arrest of seven others.

“The reward of Rs.1 lakh for the arrest of Tapan and Altab will be handed over to the state police for assisting us in arresting them,” the CBI spokesperson said.

“With the arrest of Tapan and Altab, a total of 12 accused involved in the case have ben arrested so far,” he added.

Earlier, the CBI announced a reward of Rs.3 lakh for information leading to the arrest of three prime accused - Bapi Mahato, Umakanta Mahato and Asit Mahato. Umakanta and Asit are still absconding.

The CBI took over the investigation from the state police June 10.

It constituted a joint investigation team comprising three officers of the CBI, three officers of the state police, two officers of the Railway Protection Force, one officer of the Railway Board and two forensic experts.

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