Chandigarh: In a big relief for Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife, a magistrate inquiry has given them the clean chit in the Amritsar train tragedy in which 61 people were killed.
The 300-page probe report prepared by Jalandhar divisional commissioner B Purushartha has instead indicted the son of a Congress councillor, who organised the Dussehra celebrations, and said he should have ensured the security of the people who had gathered near the train tracks to witness the effigy burning.
The report also blamed officials of the Amritsar administration, the Municipal Corporation, the Railways and the police, saying they did not do their duty properly, leading to the loss of so many lives.
The report gave Sidhu a clean chit because he was not present in Amritsar that day. It added that his wife, former Amritsar-East MLA Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, also could not be held responsible as the chief guest visits the function wherever one is invited.
The chief guest could not be held accountable for the lapses at the venue that led to the tragedy, the report concluded.
The report specially pointed out that the organisers of the event, including councillor’s Vijay Madan’s son Sourab Mithu Madan, who is a close aide of the Sidhu couple, did not take proper permission for the event and did not care for the management of the crowd.
It was alleged that the organisers had used the influence of the Sidhu couple to tweak safety requirements for organisation of such events and ignored all norms. In a clip that had surfaced after the tragedy, the organiser was also heard boasting that not one person would move even if 500 trains pass by.
The magistrate, in his report, also stated that the local administration should have checked whether the arrangements were adequate and there was no threat to the people.
The organiser had taken permission from the administration, but the permission was given with a rider that they should also get permission from the municipal corporation failing which the administration’s permission would be considered null and void.
Sources said the Chief Minister would soon announce action taken on the report.
Earlier, an inquiry into the train mishap by Chief Commissioner, Railway Security, K Pathak had held negligence of the people on the tracks as the main reason for the mishap. The Government Railway Police is also investigating the incident.