Indian Railways today suspended five senior officials and transferred Jhansi Divisional Manager (DRM) as the probe into the Indore-Patna Express accident gained momentum, with blood samples of the two drivers sent for alcohol test.
The death toll in Sunday's mishap rose to 150, making it the deadliest train accident in the last 17 years with four more persons, including a 12-year-old boy, succumbing to their injuries.
Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer (Carriage and wagon) Navaid Talib, Divisional Engineer M K Mishra, Senior Section Engineer Ambika Ojha, Section Engineer Iswar Das and Senior Section Engineer Sushil Kumar Gupta were suspended for dereliction of duty while DRM of Jhansi Division S K Aggarwal was transferred.
While Jhansi DRM was transferred to Ranchi, the five officials were suspended pending inquiry.
"It was very necessary to take action to fix responsibility. Suspension and transfer order was issued pending inquiry being conducted by the Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS)," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Meanwhile, Railway Safety Commissioner P K Acharya said blood samples of the two drivers of the train have been sent to a lab to ascertain if they were in an inebriated condition that could have caused the deadly derailment.
"Blood samples of both the drivers have been sent to a laboratory for tests. I can make further comments once the laboratory sends the reports," he said replying to questions on whether the drivers were under the influence of alcohol.
Mr Acharya, who is probing the accident and had inspected the site yesterday, said it may take about two-three days to complete the inquiry and the report will be submitted to the government in a month's time.
The statements of the driver, the assistant driver, a police inspector and a few other people have been recorded, he said, adding that this is first round of questioning and there will be more rounds.
He said samples of the broken railway track have been brought to Kanpur and are being sent for examination to the Research Designs and Standards Organisation's (RDSO) laboratory.
A 12-member team of Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel has also been formed to investigate the derailment.
On being told that the GRP had registered FIRs against unknown people and is also investigating the matter, Mr Acharya said he had nothing to do with the GRP's probe.