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Gyaneshwari Exp: CBI arrests fourth PCPA member

June 19, 2010 16:48 IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation arrested a leader of Maoists-backed the People's Committee against Police Atrocities on Saturday for alleged involvement in derailment of Gyaneswari Express that left 148 people dead in West Midnapore district, the fourth arrest in the case.

Bholanath Mahato, in his late 20s, was arrested by a joint team of the CBI and the West Bengal police from Khemasuli area in Kharagpur, CBI officials said.

Mahato was believed to have been present when the express derailed at Sardiha killing 148 passengers on May 28, the officials said.

On June 15, the CBI had arrested Hiralal Mahato, another leader of the PCPA from Rasua village, He allegedly used a van to ferry the saboteurs to the railway tracks on May 27, hours before the disaster.

Earlier, the Central Investigation Department had also nabbed two people -- Khagen Mahato and Samir Mahato -- before it handed over the probe to the CBI on June 9.

The CBI on June 17 had named PCPA convenor Asit Mahato and two other senior activists, Umakant Mahto and Manoj alias Bapi Mahto, as the main accused and announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh each for information leading to their arrest.

Meanwhile, PCPA leader Manoj Mahto today announced a "reward" of Rs 1 lakh each on Communist Party of India (Maoist) leaders Susanto Ghosh, Lakhan Ghosh, Dhareswar Sen, Anuj Pandey, Prasanto Das, Arjun Mahato, Manik Mahato, Hiralal Mahto and Dhruv Sanigrahi, who, he alleged, were involved in the derailment.

"We had initially backed the CBI's investigation, but we have found that it is shielding the CPI (Maoist) leaders," he said.
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