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It's an accident, reaffirms Bannerjee

September 25, 2008 16:53 IST

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As the Nanavati Commission probing the Sabarmati Express fire termed it "pre-planned", Justice U Bannerjee who carried out a separate probe into the incident maintained that it was an "accident" and could never have been triggered through petrol.

The Bannerjee committee, set up by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in September 2004, in its report submitted in 2005 had said the burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati express on February 27, 2002 was an accident.

"I have recorded my findings that it is an accidental fire," Bannerjee said when his comments were sought on the Godhra Commission report, which held that it was a pre-planned conspiracy and not an accident.

The judge said he had examined a large number of witnesses, including an Income Tax Officer, who submitted that they had crawled on the floor to get out of the burning coach.

 While 250 people could escape to safety, there were 58 who were asphyxiated due to thick smoke.

The sequence of the fire was something different. "This sequence could never have been in a petrol fire," he said.  

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