Ruling out administrative lapse behind the stampede during Chhath which claimed 18 lives, the Bihar government on Wednesday said it was triggered by rumours and hinted at a conspiracy.
Minister in-charge of Home Department Vijay Chaudhary told the assembly that rumours that a live electric wire had fallen into the Ganga and electrocuted the water, and that the power supply had snapped, caused the tragedy.
However, the probe by Principal Secretary Home Amir Subhani found that neither had any electric wire fallen into the river, nor had any make-shift wooden bridge collapsed on November 19 at Adalatghat.
Hinting at a conspiracy behind the tragedy, he said it has come to light that an individual identified as Ashok Ghosh used the telephone number of an electricity office to report about the falling of the live wire and asked officials to snap the power supply.
The mishap was magnified due to closure of an iron gate in south of the temple at the time of stampede by some unidentified persons as part of the conspiracy. The gate was opened by senior officials which helped to contain the casualty in the stampede, he said.
Chaudhary said probe into the incident has also hinted at the 'mysterious' role of an RJD MP but did not elaborate. The minister said no administrative lapse was mentioned in
the interim report submitted by the principal secretary to the home department, but if something of the kind comes to light in the final report, strict action would be taken against the guilty.
Earlier, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress members criticised the government for the tragedy and demanded an all party committee of the assembly to investigate the incident.