New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): In its chargesheet, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has named 10 Maoist cadres in the hijacking of Bhubaneswar-Rajdhani Express 2009 in West Bengal.
It had been barely a week after the then Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government in West Bengal enfeebled the law-enforcement system by signing a Naxal-for-cop deal and emboldened Maoists on October 27, 2009 blocked the New Delhi-bound Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani Express at Banstala Railway Station in West Midnapore district.
The train was later released after the intervention of nearly 20 state police personnel and 150 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troops with its driver and passengers completely safe.
The anti-terror agency took over the case from the state police in 2020 and submitted its first chargesheet in the matter on Thursday in a special court in Kolkata, an NIA Spokesperson told ANI on Friday.
Those named in the chargesheet include Chhatradhar Mahato, Mansaram Hembaram, Sahebram Murmu, Thakurmani Hembram alias Tara (woman), Sanatan Soren, Sikha (woman), Asari Mahato, Dashrath Baske, Dhanapati Mahato and Dileshwar Mahato.
The hijacking was committed on direction of Chhatradhar, one of the key accused in the incident, to ensure his release from jail in exchange. Chhatradhar was in jail in connection with a different case at the time of hijacking. Around 300-400 supporters of a Maoist-linked outfit hijacked the train to advertise their clout.
The NIA took over the investigation from West Bengal police on April 1, 2020.
A banned organisation People's Committee against Police Atrocities, led by the CPI(Maoist), demanded the release of their jailed leader Chhatradhar Mahato among others.
Mahato was also a prime suspect in the Jnaneswari Express disaster.
Chhatradhar Mahato was released from jail by the state government months before the state assembly election. He was, however, arrested on March 27 by the NIA.
There were nearly 30 more persons accused by the West Bengal Police state against whom the NIA could not get enough documents. (ANI)