A Calcutta High Court grants bail to six accused in the 2010 Jnaneswari Express tragedy

Several accused in the 2010 derailment of the Jnaneswari Express in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district were granted bail by the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday.

148 passengers were killed when the Mumbai-bound train derailed near Jhargram and was struck by an oncoming goods train. According to authorities, the derailment occurred around 1 a.m. on May 28, 2010, due to alleged Maoist sabotage. After a four-day bandh called by the CPI (Maoist), the incident occurred.

Upon granting bail to the six accused, Justices Partha Sarathi Chatterjee and Tapabrata Chakraborty stated that the extended trial of the accused would violate Article 21 of the Constitution, no matter what the nature of the offence may be. Approximately ten years have passed since the accused were imprisoned.

A request by then Railways minister Mamata Banerjee led to the investigation being handed over to the CBI in June 2010. At that time, West Bengal was governed by a left-wing government.

On November 29, 2010, the CBI filed a charge sheet in this case that named 23 defendants.

In West Bengal’s Jhargram district, which was once considered the center of Maoist activity, Mantu Mahato, Laxman Mahato, Sanjay Mahato, Tapan Mahato, Bablu Rana and Dayamoy Mahato were among six accused granted bail.

According to the Calcutta High Court, even in cases involving crimes under the UAPA and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, “bail can be granted to an undertrial prisoner who has suffered half of the minimum punishment prescribed and has been delayed substantially by the prosecution…” The right to a speedy trial is implicit in Article 21, and long delays may be regarded as presumptive evidence of prejudice against an accused.

A court also noted that Section 436-A of the CrPC cannot prevent bail from being granted where the delay in the trial completion was unavoidable.

According to the CBI, 17 witnesses have been examined yearly since the trial began in 2013. Only 177 of the 245 witnesses have been discussed so far.

Given this, we believe there is no hope of a quick conclusion to the trial,” the court stated.

The CBI had argued that bail should not be granted.

Criminal lawyer Kaushik Gupta represented defendants Kaushik Gupta and Debashish Roy. According to Kaushik Gupta, the Calcutta High Court granted bail to these six petitioners under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In light of Article 21 of the Constitution, the court upheld the right to liberty of the accused persons by weighing it against the alleged crimes.”

In the case of investigative agencies, the question is whether their executive actions have consistently deprived individuals of their liberty without having been able to establish their guilt in a court of law. As in this case, it is common for the accused to have already lost 10-12 years of their life by the time they are finally acquitted. The executive violates Article 21 by creating rigorous investigative procedures and not pursuing the case. The CBI filed charge sheets in this matter in 2010. According to Gupta, there are few witnesses at the trial, which is ongoing, and there is no end in sight to determining guilt.

The accused claim that they have been falsely arraigned and implicated in the case.

According to your petitioners, the First Information Report was filed against unknown miscreants. As a result, it appears that the petitioners have been implicated based on materials purportedly gathered during the investigation, which is nothing more than afterthoughts devised by the investigating agency to make the petitioners herein scapegoats,” the accused petition alleged.

While your petitioners have examined 239 witnesses, none of them has been able to offer any direct information regarding the petitioner’s role in the purported commission of the offence they are accused of, according to the petition, which states that “…each of the petitioners has been in custody for at least nine years, in a manner that can only be described as punitive incarceration without any rationale.”


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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