The Congress on Monday accused the BJP-led Centre of playing with the lives of railway passengers by not focussing on their safety and security and hit out at the railways for seeking a CBI probe, saying the agency is meant to investigate crimes and not train accidents.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the probe agency cannot fix accountability for technical, institutional and political failures, a day after the railways sought a CBI probe into the tragedy in Odisha that claimed 275 lives.

Kharge also said "all the empty safety claims" of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw have now been "exposed" and the government must bring to light the real reasons that caused this grave accident, which he described as one of the worst in Indian history.

In his four-page letter to Modi, the Congress chief said there is serious concern among the common passengers about the deterioration in safety of railways and therefore, it is incumbent upon the government to ascertain and bring to light the real reasons that caused this grave accident.

He alleged that instead of focusing on strengthening the railways at the basic level, only "superficial touch-up is being done to stay in news".

Alleging that the railways was being meted out a "step-motherly treatment" by the government, Kharge said consistently flawed decision making has made travelling by rail unsafe and has in turn compounded the problems of people.

"Unfortunately, the people in charge – your goodself and Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw – do not want to admit that there are problems," he said.


railway minister claims to have already found a root cause, but yet has requested the CBI to investigate, he said, asserting that the agency is meant to investigate crimes, not railway accidents.

"The CBI, or any other law enforcement agency, cannot fix accountability for technical, institutional and political failures. In addition, they lack the technical expertise in railway safety, signalling, and maintenance practices," the Congress chief said.

Congress spokesperson and former Minister of State for Railways Bhakta Charan Das said at a press conference that the accident was a result of the "misgovernance" of the central government as railway safety clearly stands ignored.

He also took on Prime Minister Modi and asked whether he has ever spent sometime on security and safety of railway passengers.

"Neither the prime minister nor the railway minister is bothered about the safety of railways. The railway department and the Government of India are responsible for this accident and not just the station master. We hope the people of the country are seeing this and the government should answer the questions in the minds of people," Das said.

"This Odisha accident is clearly a result of the misgovernance of the Government of India," he said.

"Does the prime minister care about the lives of people travelling in the railways. Has the prime minister ever monitored railway safety," he asked.

The prime minister is saying that the guilty will be punished, Das said, but claimed that "everyone knows who the guilty is".

"The CBI inquiry means the focus is needed to be diverted," he alleged.
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