Samastipur: A railway engineer has been suspended for trying to illegally sell a vintage steam engine as “scrap in Bihar.
DRM of Samastipur Division said an FIR was registered on the previous day against seven persons, including the engineer Rajiv Ranjan Jha, at Banmankhi in Purnea district.
The matter involves a meter gauge engine stationed in Purnea for public display which Jha was caught trying to get dismantled on December 14 with a gas cutter which was being handled by helper Sushil Yadav.
When sub-inspector MM Rehman, came to enquire, the engineer brandished a letter claiming that the Divisional Mechanical Engineer had ordered that scrap material from the engine be taken to the diesel locomotive shed nearby.
Jha also wrote a memo confirming the same to Rehman before leaving the spot with scrap material laden on a pick-up van.
The lid was blown off the racket a day later when RPF personnel Sangita brought to the notice of her superiors that the scrap had not reached the diesel shed.
Further investigation revealed that no order for transportation of scrap had been issued and the letter which Jha was armed with, was fake.
“Evidently, Jha had struck an illegal scrap deal. He, along with Yadav, is on the run. They will be tracked down by RPF and face legal action as per Railway Property Act,” said the DRM.
The RPF sub-inspector posted at the diesel shed, Virendra Dwivedi, has also been suspended for being lax.
Meanwhile, BP Mandal, Inspector, RPF, Purnea, said the hydra crane used in the illegal activity has been seized from the town’s Gulabbag area.
He also said raids were being conducted to arrest Jha, including his residence in Patna where his wife works as a nurse.
Efforts were on to trace the material that might have been transported as scrap and the dealer with whom Jha and his accomplices were doing business.