In contrast to the assertions made by local leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the police, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has determined that Chetan Singh Chaudhary, a former Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable, who allegedly shot and killed his senior officer and three Muslim passengers on the Jaipur-Mumbai Central Express on July 31, is mentally stable.
In a voluminous charge sheet of more than 1,000 pages filed in a Mumbai suburban court, the GRP relied on the testimonies of over 150 witnesses to arrive at this conclusion. A senior GRP official described their investigation as "foolproof" and emphasized that Chaudhary, aged 33, was fully aware of the consequences of his actions. Nevertheless, he proceeded to pull the trigger and take lives, as revealed by the officer who was privy to the investigation.
A disturbing incident, partially captured on video by fellow passengers, depicted Chaudhary firing at three Muslim men with beards across nine train carriages. These three passengers—Abdul Kadar Mohamed Hussain Bhanpurawala, Syed Saifuddin, and Asgar Abbas Sheikh—lost their lives on the spot. Chaudhary's senior officer, ASI Tika Ram Meena, was killed by Chaudhary after being denied leave from duty on that fateful night.
While the police suggested that Meena's killing might have been fueled by anger, they contended that the other three killings were selective in nature. Both Meena and Chaudhary were assigned to provide security on the train, and the investigation indicated that the shooting occurred shortly after an argument between the two. According to a witness, one passenger claimed that Chaudhary had compelled a burqa-clad passenger to chant 'Jai Mata Di' at gunpoint.
In a video, which the police are now using as crucial evidence, Chaudhary can be heard speaking to passengers while standing over Asghar's bloodied body. In Hindi, Chaudhary stated, "They operate from Pakistan, this is what the media of the country is showing, they have found out, they know everything, their leaders are there… If you want to vote, if you want to live in India, then I say, Modi and Yogi, these are the two, and your Thackeray."
At the time of submitting the charge sheet to the Borivali metropolitan magistrate court, the GRP expressed concerns for Chaudhary's safety and presented him via video conferencing. Initially, the railways had raised questions about Chaudhary's mental health, but they eventually characterized his actions as a heinous crime, leading to his dismissal from service in August.
Following the incident, Chaudhary was initially charged under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for murder, along with sections of the Arms Act and the Indian Railways Act. However, his first appearance before a magistrate court on August 2 presented a narrative that downplayed the video depicting his inflammatory speech and instead focused on his mental instability.
In response to criticism, the police later added sections 153A, 341, and 342 of the IPC and 151, 152, and 153 of the Indian Railways Act. Section 153 A pertains to "promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion."
In the chargesheet, the police have now included sections like 364 (kidnapping for murder), 427 (mischief and causing loss), 506 (2) (death threats) of the IPC, and Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. Notably, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has not been applied in the case, despite Meena's belonging to the Adivasi community from Rajasthan.
The police claim to have gathered a significant number of both direct and circumstantial witnesses in the case, with the next hearing scheduled for November 2.