West Bengal Police and commandos of the elite special action force (SAF) have arrested four suspected members of the People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) in connection with the May 28 attack on the Gyaneshwari Express.
The arrest was made in a joint operation in Jhargram, a Maoist stronghold. Sources in the central reserve police force (CRPF) said six commando teams and 200 personnel of state police and CRPF took part in the night-long operation.
Those arrested have been identified as Manoranjan Mahto, Rakhal Barik, Rabindra Mahto and Bonomali Mahato, reports DNA.
"We have arrested four people and interrogation is on. We have some leads and Jhargram Police are heading the operations in the area. We are trying to identify the people who planned and carried out this Gyaneshwari strike," a senior West Bengal Police officer said. Investigators said they had also recovered some country-made firearms and a motorcycle from the suspects.
The home ministry has already pointed the finger of suspicion at Maoists or its frontal organisations. This is not the first time that members of PCPA have attacked a passenger train. Earlier, they were involved in hijacking the Kolkata-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express.
During the course of investigation, it was found that the Gyaneshwari Express was derailed because of the removal of fish plates and mutilation of a part of the track. The derailment led to a collision with a speeding goods train coming from the opposite direction.
When the personnel of CRPF reached the accident site, around 3 am on the day of the attack, they found PCPA posters.
"Since we were just 12 km away from the accident site, we were rushed with medical supplies and paramedics to help the injured and take part in the rescue operation. Our personnel recovered PCPA posters and handed them to local police," a senior CRPF officer said, adding that the personnel had to walk in the middle of the night to avoid being ambushed by Maoists.