India: Man pronounced dead in 2010 rail accident found alive

Kolkata - The man was thought to have died in the 2010 Jnaneswari train accident in West Bengal.


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Published: Mon 21 Jun 2021, 11:37 AM

A 38-year-old man, declared dead in the the 2010 Jnaneswari train accident in India's West Bengal, has been found alive after 11 years.

The Central Bureau of Investigation detained Amritavan Chowdhury from Jorabagan in North Kolkata on Saturday evening. He was 27 years old at the time of the accident and was listed among the passengers who had died in it.

"We received a complaint from the office of general manager (vigilance), administrative branch of the South Eastern Railway on August 11 last year based on which a discreet inquiry was started. The preliminary findings suggest that the person in question, Amritava Chowdhury, against whose death his family was compensated by the government, is still alive," said a CBI officer.

Chowdhury's parents Mihir Kumar and Archana Chowdhury had at the time managed to secure a compensation of 4 lakh rupees (Dh20,000). They also managed to secure a government job for Chowdhury's sister, Mahua Pathak, who currently works as an "assistant signal" in the Sealdah division of South Eastern Railways.

Chowdhury, his sister and their parents have been named in the FIR, along with unknown government and private officials.

"The body was handed over to the family after matching the DNA profiling. This means there was some tampering with the DNA report because now we find that the so-called dead person is alive and that body that was handed over to the family was not that of Amritava Chowdhury," said a CBI officer.

According to senior police officers, the bodies that were in a recognizable condition were handed over to the families after examining documents. However, many bodies that were too mutilated to identify were handed over to family members after DNA matching.

"It was apparent that the Chowdhury family in alleged connivance with some government officials had tampered with the DNA profiling report and proved that the DNA of one of the bodies of the victims of the train accident matched with that of their family member's," a senior police officer said.

The devastating railway accident, one of India's worst, happened on May 28, 2010 in West Midnapore when the Mumbai-bound Jnaneswari Express derailed and had a head-on collision with a goods train, killing 148 passengers.

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