Amritsar train tragedy: Sidhu's wife gets clean chit
Punjab cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur has been given a clean chit in a Punjab government-appointed magisterial probe into the Amritsar train tragedy on Dusshera evening in which 60 people died, sources said here on Thursday.
The probe, conducted by Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner B. Purushartha, has indicted Saurabh Madan Mithoo, the son of Congress councillor in Amritsar and a close political aide of the Sidhu couple, and officials of the Amritsar Municipal Corporation, local administration, police and railway authorities for lapses that led to the tragedy.
The officials have been blamed for giving permissions without ensuring safety while railway officials have been blamed for allowing the speeding train to move on the tracks without bothering about people crowding on the tracks.
The report has been sent to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for further action.
Over 60 people were injured in the tragedy when a diesel multiple unit (DMU) train mowed them down on a railway track near Joda Phatak in Amritsar on October 19 while they were watching the burning of a Ravana effigy.
A separate inquiry into the train tragedy conducted by the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety had blamed "negligence" of the people, who were standing on the railway track, for the incident.
Mithoo was the main organiser of the Dusshera event while Navjot Kaur was the chief guest.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Virsa Singh Valtoha said on Thursday that they had predicted earlier that the Sidhu couple would get a clean chit in the magisterial probe.
The probe commissioner submitted his 300-page report to the Punjab Home Department on November 21. Over 150 people were examined during the probe.
Sidhu and his wife were both summoned by the one-man probe commission. However, Sidhu, who was present in Amritsar on November 2 when he was summoned, failed to turn up and said he was not in Punjab from October 16 to 20 and could not give any "inputs".
Opposition leaders and locals alleged that Navjot Kaur, a former legislator, fled the scene after the train killings.
There were allegations that the event was organised without mandatory permissions, which had to be given by the municipal corporation which falls under the local government department headed by Sidhu. - IANS