Former Kerala ATS head P Vijayan suspended in connection with information leak in train arson case

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P Vijayan IPS | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Thursday suspended senior IPS officer P Vijayan, the former head of the state's ATS unit, in connection with the alleged leak of information regarding transportation of the Elathur train arson case accused from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra to Kozhikode district of the southern state.

According to the suspension order, the action has been taken on the basis of a report submitted by ADGP Law and Order M R Ajith Kumar that the leak of information about the accused person's transportation was a serious security failure.

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The order also said Vijayan, an Inspector General-rank officer, and Grade SI Manoj Kumar K, who were not part of the team investigating the train arson case had contacted the officers who were taking the accused to Kozhikode by road.

It further said that since the ATS wing of police is expected to function more carefully, detailed investigation into its officials based on the ADGP's report was necessary.

The order said that till the investigation of the matter is concluded it was necessary to suspend Vijayan from service.

ADGP (Police HQ) K Padmakumar would be conducting the probe, the order said.

The Kerala Police's strategy to secretly bring the suspect -- Shahrukh Saifi -- to the state by road in a private SUV to avoid media and public attention had gone awry as the vehicle got stranded on the roadside with a flat tyre and only three officers to guard the accused as locals gathered there to get a glimpse of him.

The flat tyre incident occurred while the team was proceeding through Kannur district of the state and the officers sat inside the SUV for around an hour, trying to arrange a replacement vehicle for their onward journey.

Saifi was caught in Ratnagiri on April 5, three days after the night of April 2 when he had allegedly set fire to passengers after pouring petrol on them when the train reached Korapuzha bridge near Elathur in Kozhikode district. Nine people suffered burn injuries in the incident.

Three persons -- a woman, an infant, and a man -- died in the incident after they fell down from the train in their attempt to escape from the fire.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Kerala police was subsequently formed to probe the incident.


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