Mamata sees political conspiracy

 “It is the duty of the West Bengal administration to find out who is responsible,” Banerjee told reporters in Kolkata while suggesting that the Maoists, who have been blamed for the disaster in their heartland, cannot be held responsible until investigations are complete.

“From the Railways, we have requested Union Home Ministry for a CBI investigation into the incident since it was in Jangalmahal where joint operation is on. We have already sent a letter and the Centre has agreed to order it,” she said.

Banerjee said she did not know who were behind it, but “whoever did it, it was a political conspiracy. The accident has occurred two days before the (civic) election. One may be politically against us, but I feel bad the way the incident was engineered to fulfil one’s political interest.

“Those who have done this sabotage and played with so many lives should not be pardoned,” she said.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury rejected as unfortunate and absurd Mamata’s claims pointing fingers at the Left party. The claim was being done with tomorrow’s civic elections in mind, Yechury said, adding Banerjee is trying to cover up her “serious lapses”.

Apparently referring to the police report that fish plates were removed, Banerjee said, “I do not know from where this story has come. The railway lines there were long-welded railway lines which have no fish plates. She also said three Express trains had passed through the derailment spot before the diaster at around 1:30 am on Friday.

With the recovery of 43 more bodies from the mangled coaches till tonight, the death toll rose to 141, South Eastern Railway sources said. The number of injured has been put at 190 by officials. Several bodies were yet to be identified.

The bodies were being taken to the Midnapore Medical College Hospital for postmortem, West Midnapore District Magistrate N S Nigam said.

Around 190 injured people were being treated in different hospitals in Midnapore, Kharagpur, Jhargram and in Kolkata, Nigam said.

He said rescue work, halted because of rain, will resume on Sunday, even as rescuers feared more bodies might be trapped under the S-6 coach.

The tracks could not be cleared till late in the evening as the derailed coaches had not been removed.

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