A Bihar railway engineer reportedly sold two-meter-gauge locomotives after forging documents and is now on the run to escape arrest.
Railway officials said they were not engines, but parts of it, including the bogies in which the engines are installed.
The steam locomotives, made in the 1950s, remained unattended near Purnea Court station for more than two decades after being taken out of service. Senior Section Engineer Rajeev Ranjan Jha, stationed at Samastipur Rail Division under the East Central Railway (ECR), allegedly obtained a bogus office order to sell it as scrap metal.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) sub-inspector Virendra Dwivedi and assistant Sushil Kumar Yadav stationed in the Samastipur division reportedly helped Jha remove the engines and sell them.
RPF officers stationed around Purnea Court noticed that Jha and Yadav were overseeing the dismantling of the engines using gas cutters on December 14. Asked about it, Jha produced an office order to move the motors as junk to the stores.
However, an RPF agent, Sangeeta Kumari, noticed that something was wrong. The store ledger showed the entrance of a pickup truck loaded with scrap metal, but there was no sign of it.
The RPF investigated the case and discovered that the letter shown by Jha was a forgery. She searched unsuccessfully for the scrapped vehicle for two days and then registered an FIR.
Dwivedi and Yadav were suspended on the instruction of Samastipur Division Railroad Manager (DRM) Alok Agarwal while a hunt for Jha is underway.
Contacted by The telegraphRajesh Kumar, ECR’s public relations manager, confirmed that such an incident had occurred, but said: âThese were parts of steam locomotives – bogies in which the engine is kept. They were not to be auctioned, but had to be brought back to the railroad stores. Another investigation is underway into this matter.
A senior railway official who asked not to be identified told this newspaper that Jha illegally sold two motor bogies – steel frames, housings, platforms and wheels on which motors are mounted for use as locomotives.
âWe don’t know much about them, but each of the power bogies weighed around eight tonnes. Scrap metal is sold for around Rs 25 per kg, which makes its value at around Rs 4 lakh, âsaid the senior railway official.
Railway sources said Jha went on leave on December 14, telling his superiors that his father was not doing well.