Kolkata Police registered an FIR against the Metro authority on Sunday, a day after the death of a 66-year-old passenger, whose hand had got stuck in the train door and was dragged for nearly 60 metres as it started moving. An unnatural death case was registered on Saturday. However, new IPC sections were added following a complaint filed by the family of the deceased, Sajal Kumar Kanjilal, at Kasba police station.
“A case has been filed under sections 304 A (causing death by negligence) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. Investigation is on,” Joint Commissioner of Police Praveen Tripathy told The Indian Express.
The incident took place at Park Street station at 6.40 pm on Saturday when Kanjilal, a resident of Kasba area, was trying to board a Kabi Subhash-bound train.
According to Metro officials, it seems he tried to push his right hand while trying to board the train as the doors were closing. Somehow the door closed, but his fingers got stuck. It was only after 15 seconds that the motorman applied brakes after being alerted by the Metro staff. But by then four coaches had entered the tunnel. Kanjilal, meanwhile, tried to keep pace with the train, but failed. He was then dragged on the tracks after which he got electrocuted.
Police said they might soon interrogate Metro officials and examine CCTV footages. Kanjilal’s relatives have accused the Metro officials of “unintentional murder”.
“My brother’s hand got stuck in the door, yet the Metro kept running. It is because of their technical fault that we lost him, so, we know it was an unintentional murder. However, we don’t want any other family to go through this,” said a relative of Kanjilal who did not wish to be named.
Meanwhile, the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) has initiated an independent probe into the case. A CRS team is likely to arrive in Kolkata from Delhi Monday.
“It’s the highest level of inquiry, which will throw more light on how the incident took place,” said a senior official of the authority.
Eyewitnesses claimed despite the passenger’s hand being stuck in between the two flaps of the door, the train started moving, which showed the sensor was not working properly. Question arises on how the doors of the Metro got closed when it is equipped with sensors.
A Metro official, on condition of anonymity, said, “Possibly his finger got stuck in between the door. If something as small as a finger gets stuck, it will not affect the door from closing, which might have happened in this case.”
One of the flaps of the doors is covered with solid rubber, while the other has a hollow rubber frame. Once they fit into each other, the train starts moving automatically. In case a finger gets stuck in between, it will not affect the door from closing, Metro officials added.
On Saturday, after the motorman applied brakes, the train came to a halt and the power supply was switched off. The passengers were evacuated and the body was sent to SSKM Hospital, where doctors declared Kanjilal brought dead.
Following the incident, Metro services were suspended from 6.43 pm to 7.30 pm. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday had said the state government would provide a job to a family member of the deceased.
Indrani Bandyopadhyay, chief public relations officer (CPRO), Metro Railway, Kolkata, said, “It is a very unfortunate incident and is unprecedented in the history of Metro Railway Kolkata. We have started a probe and a three-member inquiry committee has been formed.”
State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim visited Park Street Metro station after the incident. “The police are conducting an inquiry. As there has been a death, a case will be filed. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has sent me here to look into the matter. I don’t know whether there is any negligence or not. But I can assure you that the state government will take necessary steps on this,” he told mediapersons.
After the incident, the Metro rake was sent to the car shed and would be inspected on Monday by the Commission of Railway Safety.