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Prime accused of train sabotage in CBI custody
Published on 22 Jun. 2010 11:24 PM IST
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Pro-Maoist activist Bapi Mahato, a prime accused in last month’s train sabotage in West Bengal in which 148 people were killed, was Tuesday remanded to 10 days’ Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody by a court in West Midnapore district.
Bapi, arrested Sunday from Jharkhand and brought to West Midnapore district Monday on a day’s transit remand, was brought before the additional chief judicial magistrate at Jhargram in the district. “Bapi’s relative Vimal Mahato, who was arrested for providing shelter to Bapi, got a 10-day police remand,” CBI lawyer, Partha Tapaswi said.
Bapi Mahato was the main organiser of the pro-Maoist tribal body Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities’ (PCAPA) militant wing, Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia, in the Guimara-Lalgeria panchayat area under Jhargram police station. Tapaswi said the CBI sleuths have submitted three mobile phones, SIM cards and train trickets seized from Bapi and Vimal, before the court.
“Bapi has already named the other people involved in the crime and the entire sequence of events leading to the accident. It will help us to investigate the case,” said a CBI officer.
After interrogating Bapi and Vimal for several hours at the West Midnapore police lines Monday, the sleuths have came to know that Bapi was denied shelter by the top Maoists cadres for committing such a “heinous crime”.
As soon as the state police investigating agency Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which initiated the probe into the case, accused Bapi along with Umakanto Mahato of having masterminded the crime, they fled their homes and approached the Maoist cadres for shelter.
“On being refused by the ultra-Left rebels and with the CBI declaring a Rs.1 lakh reward for providing information leading to his arrest, Bapi was forced to move to Jamshedpur after hiding at different places in the forest areas along the West Bengal-Jharkhand border,” CBI sources said.
“The names of people involved in the sabotage as disclosed by Bapi, include a few local leaders of the PCAPA and a few Maoists cadres,” said another CBI officer.
Umakanto Mahato, another prime accused in the Gyaneshwari Express derailment case, was also denied shelter by the Maoists, Bapi told the CBI during interrogation, according to the officer.
“We hope to nab Umakanto shortly, We have learnt that the Maoists have given shelter to Asit Mahato, the third prime accused in the case,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, the reward money of Rs.1 lakh for Bapi’s arrest would be distributed among the Jharkhand and West Bengal policemen, who arrested him, said state Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh.
Bapi has been charged under provisions of the Indian Railways Act related to offences of maliciously wrecking or attempting to wreck trains, and damage or destruction of certain railway properties.
He has also been charged under penal provisions dealing with murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

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