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Bapi Mahato and Bimal Mahato, both accused in last month’s Gyaneshwari Express train sabotage, were Monday taken to West Bengal by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on transit remand for the probe into the derailment in which 148 people were killed, police said.

Bapi Mahato, who was arrested Sunday from a guest house in Jamshedpur, was Monday presented before Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Saraikela, Indrason Yadav.

The court granted permission to CBI to take Bapi Mahato and his cousin Bimal Mahato, arrested for sheltering Bapi in Jharkhand, into its custody for a day’s transit remand and present them in the additional CJM’s court of Jhargram in West Bengal by June 23.

“Bapi Mahato was taken to Jhargram by a helicopter by the CBI. They were taken to Jhargram after a CJM court granted their transit remand to the CBI,” Seraikela Kharsawa District Superintendent of Police Abhishek told IANS.

The two have been charged under provisions of the Indian Railways Act related to offences of maliciously wrecking or attempting to wreck trains, and damage or destruction of certain railway properties.

They have also been charged under penal provisions dealing with murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy.

Bapi Mahato, who was staying in Jharkhand under the name of his maternal cousin Bimal, was arrested in a joint operation of Jharkhand and West Bengal police Sunday.

Mahato was a prominent leader of the militant wing of the West Bengal-based tribal body People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), West Bengal Police officials said.

He is the fifth man to be arrested for the sabotage of rail tracks that led to the derailment of the Gyaneshwari Express May 28. The derailed coaches, which had fallen on the adjoining track, were then hit by an oncoming goods train.

A resident of Rasua village, Mahato was the main organiser of the PCAPA’S Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia in the Guimara-Lalgeria panchayat area under Jhargram police station of West Midnapore district.

The CBI Thursday declared a reward of Rs.1 lakh for any information about Bapi Mahato and two other prime accused – Umakant Mahato of Banksole village and Asit Mahato of Krishnanagar village in West Midnapore district. Umakant and Asit are still at large.

The West Bengal Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had initiated an inquiry after the incident, but the central government later asked the CBI to probe the matter following a demand from Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The CBI took over the case June 10.

While the CID had nabbed two people – Khagen Mahato and Samir Mahato, the CBI has arrested two other suspects, Hiralal Mahato and Bholanath Mahato

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