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WB train sabotage key accused arrested
Ranchi/Kolkata, Jun 20 (IANS):
Published on 20 Jun. 2010 10:39 PM IST
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A key accused in the Gyaneshwari Express derailment due to Maoist sabotage in which 148 people were killed in West Bengal last month was arrested from Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district Sunday, police said.
Bapi Mahato was taken into custody from a guest house in the populated area of Adityapur in Jamshedpur, Senior Superintendent of Police Naveen Kumar told IANS over telephone from East Singhbhum. He is being interrogated, Kumar said.
Police sources said Mahato checked into the guest house at 11.30 p.m. June 17. He hardly spent three to four hours there and stayed out mostly. A joint team of the Jharkhand and West Bengal Police arrived at the guest house in plain clothes. Five policemen went to the room in which Mahato was staying and arrested him.
Police sources said they had been tracking Mahato's mobile phone calls before catching him. Manoj alias Bapi was a prominent leader of the militant wing of the West Bengal-based tribal body People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), West Bengal police officials said.
Mahato is the fifth man to be arrested for the sabotage of rail tracks that led to the derailment of the Gyaneshwari Express in West Bengal May 28. The derailed coaches, which had fallen on the adjoining track, were hit by an oncoming goods train. A resident of Rasua village, Mahato was the main organiser of the PCAPA'S Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia in the Guimara-Lalgeria panchayat area under Jhargram police station of West Midnapore district.
"We will hand him over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the case," West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told IANS in Kolkata.
The CBI Thursday declared a reward of Rs.1 lakh for any information about Mahato and two other prime accused - Umakant Mahato of Banksole village and Asit Mahato of Krishnanagar village in West Midnapore district. Umakant and Asit are still at large.
The detained accused is likely to be brought to Jhargram, the town nearest to the site of the tragedy that occurred between Sardiha and Khemasuli stations.
"We will bring him by Monday, depending on when we get the transit remand from the court," a top police source said.
The West Bengal Police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had initiated an inquiry after the incident, but the central government later asked the CBI to probe the matter following a demand from Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The CBI took over the case June 10.
While the CID had nabbed two people - Khagen Mahato and Samir Mahato, the CBI has arrested two other suspects Hiralal Mahato and Bholanath Mahato.

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