"Want Truth To Come Out": Mamata Banerjee Alleges Cover Up In Odisha Crash

Mamata Banerjee said an estimated 103 people from West Bengal have died in the accident and around 40-50 people from Bengal are missing.

Mamata Banerjee said, "The actual accident is not being investigated".


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed that there is an attempt to suppress the reasons for the railway accident in Odisha and the CBI is being used to cover up the lapses as victims' families are asking questions. "I thought I won't say this, but the situation has forced me to say it. Such a huge accident has occurred. There is an effort to cover up the lapses. The families who've lost everything want answers. They want the true information to come out," she alleged.

"Why did the accident happen? Why did so many people die? This is this century's biggest incident. What will the CBI do? If it's a criminal case, the CBI can do something. Haven't you seen Pulwama and what the then Governor has said?" she added.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating the June 2 triple train crash. "The actual accident is not being investigated and everything is being cleared," Ms Banerjee claimed.

"There is no evidence. I want the truth to come out. The railway accident is not being investigated but the CBI has been sent here (Bengal) by Delhi and they have entered some 14 to 16 municipalities in Kolkata. They have entered the urban development department. Ask them, if now they will enter washrooms also? By doing this they cannot cover up such a big accident," the Chief Minister added.

The CBI is conducting searches in the state in connection with the alleged irregularities in municipal corporations' jobs in West Bengal.

Mamata Banerjee was speaking at a programme to distribute compensation cheques and employment letters for victims of the Coromandel Express accident in Bahanaga Bazaar in Odisha's Balasore district. 288 people have died in the accident and the majority of the victims are believed to be from West Bengal, who had boarded the train at Shalimar station in Howrah on Friday.

The Trinamool Congress chief said an estimated 103 people from West Bengal have died in the accident and around 40-50 people from Bengal are missing.

She said that 172 people from the state have suffered major injuries and will receive help of Rs 1 lakh while 635 people have sustained minor injuries and will receive help of Rs 50k. "We want to ensure families have stability with immediate release of relief funds," the Chief Minister added.

Meanwhile, the Opposition BJP has raised objections to the distribution of relief cheques saying the funds have been diverted for the purpose. West Bengal Government sources point out that the majority of those who've died were travelling for work and were migrant labourers.

Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said, "The West Bengal Government is paying compensation to the Coromandel Express Accident Victims from the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board's (BOCWWB) funds. In simple words, @MamataOfficial is snatching the funds meant for the welfare of the Building & Other Construction Workers, to act as a philanthropist on stage for photo-op."

"If the Chief Minister wanted the compensation to be disbursed at the earliest, she could have sent over her trusted Ministers as emissaries to the houses of the victims, who could have handed over the amount to them directly. This approach would have been a lot more humane," he added.

The Coromandel Express crashed into a stationary goods train, derailing most of its coaches in the accident. A few of those toppled over the last few coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express which was passing by at the same time.