The incident occurred last night when Hemant Patil, a legislator from Nanded, did not allow Devgiri Express to depart till 10 pm by repeatedly pulling the chain after he got upset over being alloted a ‘side’ berth in a second AC coach.
“Netaji (Patil) and his men held up the train for almost an hour, which is a serious offence under the Railway Act. Every time the train moved ahead, netaji and his supporters kept pulling the chain and the 9.10 pm Devgiri Express finally left CST around 10 pm,” said a senior railway officer, requesting anonymity.
Officers of Central Railway (CR) have demanded that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde act against the public representative. Sena is a member of the ruling BJP-led alliance in Maharashtra.
The lawmaker stuck to his demand that he be given a berth of his choice but the officials refused to consider it.
When asked whether CR would constitute an inquiry into the incident, the senior officer shot back and asked, “Are you saying that we are at fault ? It’s ‘netaji’ (poltician) who is at fault, who did not fear law. Why we would constitute an inquiry ?
“Rather our Chief Minister should constitute an inquiry if he can take cognisance of the inconvenience caused to 2,000 passengers or the Assembly Speaker should take strict note of MLA’s conduct,” said the officer.
Another senior railway officer said, “such an act from a public representative, who claims to be serving people, ought to be stopped and penal action against him would definitely set a precedent.”
He also said that Mr Patil’s “irresponsible behaviour” delayed two other long-distance trains—CST-Mangalore and Siddheshwar Express– by 15-20 minutes.
As the assembly session ended, a 2-AC coach had been added to the packed Devgiri Express, to accommodate the VIPs departing for their respective constituencies.