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Sunday, June 4, 2023

With Kerala Police not making much headway, NIA likely to takeover Kerala train arson investigation

A week after the train fire incident in which Delhi youth Shahrukh Saifi has been arrested, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take over the investigation.

According to sources, even the SIT team led by top Kerala ADGP M.R. Ajithkumar continues to question 24-year-old Saifi, after getting him in their custody on Friday (April 7), not much headway appears to have been made.

What has to be noted is that the Centre appears to be unhappy with the ongoing SIT probe. Union Minister V. Muraleedharan slammed the Kerala Police for its “inefficiency” and said the only thing that the police did after the incident that took place on April 2 was to drive the culprit back to the state and that too without proper security arrangement from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.

Incidentally, Saifi after setting ablaze a few passengers by dousing them with petrol in the moving train on April 2 night travelled on the same train to Kannur and after a few hours boarded another train from there and got down at Ratnagiri.

Three people, including a two-year-old girl, died after they panicked and jumped out of the moving train. Nine others suffered burn injuries.

Meanwhile, Saifi has told the SIT that he did not push anyone out of the train nor has he seen anyone jumping out of the train.

The SIT by now has been able to identify the petrol pump at Shornur in Kerala’s Palakkad district where Saifi purchased petrol. He boarded the train there after several hours of being at Shornur.

What’s to be noted is the central agencies right from the time of the incident have been on tenterhooks and it was their efforts which led to the arrest of Saif from Ratnagiri by a team of the Anti-Terror Squad of the Maharashtra Police. Hence all eyes are on the next move of the NIA as the Kerala Police are yet to frame charges under sections of the UAPA.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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