Commission of Railway Safety’s report on Odisha train tragedy won’t be made public to avoid influencing CBI probe

The Railways will not make public the CRS probe report on the Balasore triple train accident to ensure that there is no “influence or interference” on the CBI’s ongoing investigation in the case, senior officials told PTI on Friday.

While there has been no official confirmation, some sources said the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) informed in its report that the accident occurred due to human error on the part of on-duty officials in the Signalling and Telecom Department as well as the Traffic Department.

The officials failed to follow the standard operating procedure in place for train operations, according to the sources.

“We will not be disclosing anything on the CRS report as another independent CBI inquiry is underway. This is to ensure that this report does not in any way influence or interfere with the other report. We will take cognisance of both the reports and make an overall evaluation of the incident and then take whatever steps necessary,” a senior official told PTI.

South Eastern Circle CRS AM Chowdhary, who was investigating the accident, submitted his report to the Railway Board on Thursday.

On Friday, top board officials refused to comment on the report with many claiming that they have not even read the document.

Usually such reports are accessible to top officials, mainly to follow through on course corrections recommended by the CRS.

Officials recalled that while the CRS usually files an interim report before the final one within a week of any accident, this time it has submitted one report.

The sources said officials have been directed to plug any leaks on the report.

The Railways has already transferred out five top officials of the South Eastern Railway under whose jurisdiction the accident occurred.

Three trains collided in Odisha’s Balasore district on June 2, claiming 293 lives and injuring over 1,000 people. The Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express entered the passing loop instead of the main line near the Bahanaga Bazar station at full speed and collided with a stationary goods train.

On the adjoining line, the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express collided with the derailed coaches of the Coromandel Express, leading to some of its bogies jumping tracks.

Apart from a CRS probe, the CBI is also investigating the accident.

An initial probe had suggested signalling interference, either by negligence or intent, as the probable cause of the accident.

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