Kerala Train Arson Case: Story Behind a Suspect Nabbed in Maharashtra

The arson had led to the death of three persons including a woman and child.


The suspect in the infamous Kerala train arson case was nabbed by police three days after the incident happened.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in coordination with central intelligence agencies detained the man accused in connection with the train fire.

What is the case all about?

Fumes of the Tragic Train Fire

On 2 April night, what started out as a normal journey for many in a Kerala train turned out to be disastrous after a man allegedly sprayed an inflammable liquid on co-passengers and set them on fire, leaving several injured. The accused managed to escape when the train slowed down after a passenger pulled the emergency chain. The tragic event took place in D1 coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express on Sunday after the train left Kozhikode railway station and reached Elathur railway station, around 10 kilometers from the Kozhikode city.

Three people who tried to escape by jumping off the train died. On Sunday night, the bodies of a woman, an infant, and a man were recovered from the tracks near the Elathur railway station.


Kozhikode to Maharashtra: Tracing The Suspect Behind Train Fire Accident

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Kerala Police charted out a plan looking at the case from multiple sides including a suspected terror angle.

“The location on the bridge was chosen to inflict maximum damage. In Elathur, a big reservoir of fuel is also available near the railway tracks. We are not ruling out a possible terror angle at this juncture,” an officer, who did not want to be named, told Hindustan Times.

The SIT reportedly conducted a forensic examination inside the coaches and collected evidence. The police recovered a bag that contained petrol, a few writings in Hindi, notes related to carpentry, and a phone linked to a person from Uttar Pradesh.

They released the CCTV footage of the suspect and the sketch of the accused with the help of train passengers. The Kerala police coordinated with their counterparts in UP, Maharashtra, and Delhi to handle the case. Central agencies, including the NIA, were also looking into the incident.

The arson had led to the death of three persons including a woman and child.

Sketch of the alleged accused of the Kerala arson case

(Photo: Twitter)

The Maharashtra Connect

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra Police and Central Intelligence took charge and soon plotted a detailed plan to catch hold of the culprit. Based on a confidential clue that they received, the accused, identified as Shahrukh Saifi, was nabbed on Wednesday, 5 April, from Ratnagiri Railway Station. The arrest was executed in a joint operation of the police, RPF, and NIA.

Saifi hails from Delhi's Shaheen Bagh and was reported missing from his house on 30 March. His parents had filed a missing person's complaint on Saturday. Sustaining burn injuries on his face on the night of the incident Saifi halted at Maharashtra seeking treatment, a senior officer said.

The accused, who was apprehended in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri, as per reports, was handed over to the Kerala police’s custody. Further probe is underway. The incident has raised questions on railway safety as the suspect had allegedly carried highly inflammable substance which is strictly prohibited in train journeys. The preliminary investigation also revealed that the accused allegedly entered the reservation coach without a verified ticket, Deccan Herald reported.

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