At least four passengers were killed and 23 others injured, 13 of them seriously, when 12 coaches of the Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express derailed near Chapra in Bihar's Saran district today, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying it was too early to blame the Maoists for the incident.
18 wagons of a goods train also derailed due to a blast in east Champaran district with the SP Vinay Kumar not ruling out the involvement of Maoists.
Chief Public Relations Officer of East Central Railway (ECR) Arvind Kumar Rajak said while three passengers were killed in the Rajdhani derailment, another succumbed to injuries in a hospital,
Seven coaches-B-5 to B-10 and the power car of the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani derailed at the Golden Ganj station, about 75 km from Patna, while five coaches, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4 and the pantry car overturned at around 2:11 AM.
Rajak said some of the coaches were hurled as far as 700 feet away from the track.
14 of the injured, 13 of them with serious injuries, were taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital, its Principal Amarkant Jha Amar told PTI.
The rest were being treated at Chapra, he said.
The Union Home Minister said that it was too early to blame Maoists for the derailment.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said, "As far as the Rajdhani derailment is concerned, investigations are on."
The Railways, however, suspected sabotage by Maoists behind the derailment.
"Prima facie, it appears to be a case of sabotage.There was a blast on the track, which could have caused the derailment," Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar told PTI in Delhi.
"Another goods train, 60 km away from the station, also got derailed due to a blast. 18 wagons got derailed in the accident," Kumar said.
The Maoists had given a bandh call during the day to protest action by security forces in the area, he said.
Three bombs were also recovered from Dariapur bazar area in the district AND were being defused.
DIG Saran Division Binod Kumar told PTI that a Maoist hand behind the planting of bombs could not be ruled out.
Two teams of National Disaster Response Force comprising 100 officials extricated three bodies from under the coaches.
Vijay Sinha, Commandant NDRF based at Bihta told PTI that three bodies were taken out after hoisting the coaches about 10 inches with the help of jacks.
Sinha said a crane would lift all the derailed and capsized coaches to ascertain if there was any bodies underneath.