The National Investigation Agency is looking into the claims of three arrested persons that the derailment of Indore-Patna express last year, in which at least 150 people were killed, was carried out at the behest of Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The trio — Moti Paswan, Uma Shankar and Mukesh Yadav — were arrested earlier this week by police from East Champaran district of Bihar. They had claimed to have got Rs 3 lakh to plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at Ghorasahan railway station under the district on October 1 last year. Bihar Police has reportedly recovered the IEDs.
Official sources said a team of NIA officials has gone to Bihar to probe the accused and to verify their claim.
A letter has been sent to the Home Ministry seeking its nod for NIA to probe IED recovery case. A formal order was expected soon from the government following which a case would be registered in the matter, they said.
The arrested persons have reportedly confessed about the ISI's possible role in the last year's derailment. They also claimed to be working for the ISI, the sources said.
The Home Ministry has also sought reports from the Bihar government and central security agencies regarding the arrest and their disclosures to Bihar Police.
Central intelligence agencies are also questioning the three accused.
If the claim of the these accused turns out to be true, it would be the first such case of train derailment in India carried out at the behest of the Pakistani agency, they said.
A report is said to have come from Nepal confirming the Bihar Police's claim that Pakistan's ISI had paid Rs 30 lakh to its agent Brajesh Giri for triggering blasts on rail tracks targeting popular trains in Bihar, the sources said.
Central security agencies were now looking for two more persons identified as Gajendra Sharma and Rakesh Yadav in East Champaran area for their suspected links to the accused.
The ISI link to the November 20 train disaster, in which 150 people were killed, was being suspected after the interrogation of the trio, police had said.
During interrogation, the three arrested persons provided some "positive lead" about the Indore-Patna express derailment in Kanpur, District Superintendent of Police Jitendra Rana had said.