Internal probe shows 2 fellow cops on board train failed to prevent bloodbath; RPF to conduct inquiry into their inaction
Jaipur-Mumbai Superfast, at Mumbai Central station on Monday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
By Shirish Vaktania, Samiullah Khan and Apoorva Agashe
When RPF constable Chetan Kumar Singh opened fire and killed his senior ASI Tikaram Meena in the running train on Monday morning, their two fellow constables were also nearby, according to sources. However, the two terror-stricken constables, who had already been threatened by Singh, hid in the toilet, they said. Now, they will face an inquiry for failing to prevent the four deaths.
Railway police sources confirmed to mid-day that a fight broke out between Chetan Singh and his senior ASI Tikaram Meena before the shooting spree. During the fight, Singh shot Meena, who fired a shot from his pistol in retaliation, they added, citing the findings of the initial investigation.
RPF constable Chetan Singh, the accused and ASI Tikaram Meena, one of the 4 dead
According to the sources, two other Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel—Constable Abhay Acharya and Head Constable Narendra Parmar—were deployed with Singh and Meena on the route. Both Acharya and Parmar are now facing departmental inquiry for failing to prevent the bloodbath.
ASI Meena was carrying a pistol with 10 bullets, Constable Acharya was carrying an ARM rifle with 20 rounds of bullets, Constable Parmar had a pistol with 10 rounds of bullets, and Singh had an ARM rifle with 20 rounds of bullets.
When the fight starts
The four RPF personnel were deployed on Saurashtra Mail, which left Mumbai Central station at 9.05 pm on July 30. They reached Surat at 1.10 am on July 31. On their return journey, they were deployed on the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Superfast Express, which departed at 2.53 am.
Railway police officers at Borivli GRP station, on Monday. Pic/Satej Shinde
While Meena and Singh were to be in AC compartments, the other two constables were stationed in the sleeper coaches. They all boarded the B-2 coach together and decided to sit for a chat before heading their way.
As soon as the train departed Surat, Singh asked the head constable if he could go home as he was feeling unwell. However, Acharya found nothing wrong with him, sources said. Singh then asked the ticket checker, who said he could get down at Valsad after taking his superior’s permission, they added.
Meena told Singh that they would reach Mumbai soon anyway, and asked him to get some sleep. He gave him some medicine as well, sources said.
Meanwhile, Meena informed the control room and Assistant Security Commissioner (ASC) Sujit Kumar Pandey, who told Singh not to go off duty. Constable Acharya offered him a cold drink, but Singh refused it and started arguing that he wanted to go home, the sources said.
Attacks constable Acharya
Singh then rested for 10-15 minutes, but woke up suddenly and started strangling Acharya and demanded that he hand over his gun. Acharya gave his gun to Singh, and informed ASC Pandey, who asked him to inform Meena, the sources added.
When Meena intervened, Singh gave Acharya’s gun back to him. Around 5 am, Acharya noticed that Singh had removed the cover of his gun. Fearing that he would fire it, he informed Meena and left the coach, the sources said.
Around 5.25 am, when the train crossed Vaitarna railway station, the shooting started. The shooting continued until the train reached Mira Road station, and Singh had shot dead Meena and three passengers, the sources added.
Took passenger hostage
Singh had also taken a passenger hostage from B-2 and moved through B-2, B-3, B-4, B-5 and B-6 coaches, before killing him at the pantry. While he was moving through the coaches, Acharya and Parmar tried to stop Singh, but he trained his gun at them and threatened to kill them if they followed him.
Afraid, the two constables hid in the toilet. One of the ticket checkers also hid and removed his uniform so that Singh would not identify him, said the sources.
The sources said that constables Acharya and Parmar were armed and should have fired at Singh to stop the bloodbath, but they did not perform their duty.
Right ahead of Mira Road station, someone pulled the emergency chain and Singh escaped. He then randomly fired at the train while standing on the track, the sources told mid-day.
At Mira Road station, when constables caught Singh, he removed his belt and started thrashing them. But, they still manage to apprehend him, the sources added.
More than 20 people have given statements so far, and the police have managed to gather sufficient evidence, the sources said.
The RPF has also formed a committee to investigate the allegations of inaction by Acharya and Parmar.
No. of people who have given their statement