Was sabotage behind the recent train accidents? Railway Board chairman AK Mital has refuted those theories. He asserted that they never stated that sabotage caused accidents in Kanpur. “Someone else said it,” he said. As per a theory floated by the Bihar Police, the back-to-back derailment near Kanpur had “ISI links”.

He also stated that safety drives are being undertaken extensively. “Sometimes there could be external factors, but we are not saying that if an accident happens due to external factors it does not affect us. Every single accident affects us,” he said.

Speaking about the accident in Rayagada where 39 people were killed when Hirakhand Express derailed on Saturday night, Mital said that they are probing all angles as well as that of sabotage as a portion of the track was found to be “broken”. Rayagada is located in the Maoist-affected border between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

In August 2016, the same Waltair Division of Railways, where Saturday’s accident took place, had witnessed a derailment of a goods train. Odisha Police had then said that there was a Maoist hand behind the accident.

A CBI probe had been initiated by the Railways in connection with the accident that took place in Kanpur earlier in January. The probe had led to the theory that sabotage may be behind the accidents that took place in November and December as well.

The Railways also claimed that an act of sabotage was on Monday foiled after patrolmen found stone slabs kept on tracks on a small bridge. The local police and the Engineering staff rushed to the spot thereafter and cleared the tracks.