Odisha police is stumped. Several agencies - the local police, state intelligence officials and railway police force - have questioned this man for hours, but they still do not have a clear cut answer for one question: why does he set empty trains on fire?
On November 12, Subash Ramachandran, a 35-year-old man hailing from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, was arrested at the Puri railway station by the Government Railway Police for setting on fire five train coaches at Puri. Subhash has reportedly confessed to have been involved in several such cases. But he has also confounded the police. He makes contradictory statements, talks of accomplices but cannot say for certain who the accomplices are and even mentions a terror angle.
"While he earlier told us that he had met some suspicious elements in Calcutta, he is now telling us that he met two of his associates in Odisha. However, he could not furnish their identities," said a GRP official to The Telegraph.
The police suspect that he might be mentally unstable. He even told the media in Odisha few days back that it was a part of a ‘terror design’, but police are not entirely convinced. They have however not ruled out the terror angle just yet.
Police officials say that their investigation has showed that Ramachandran, and his accomplices if indeed they exist, used cheap gun-powder and other chemicals which are used to make fireworks. Ramachandran would enter empty coaches, tear open the seats off their rexine covers, pour the chemicals over the seats and then set them on fire.
Ramachandran now stands accused of setting fire in two coaches each of Nandankanan Express and Tirupati Express and one coach of Puri-Howrah Express.
Indian Express reports that intelligence officials said that he was involved in various incidents in Hrishikesh-Delhi train at Hardwar and Gaya stations and had set fire to a suburban train in Chennai last year and in Mumbai two months ago.
Media reports state that intelligence officials have gathered from his family in Tirunelveli that he had also attempted suicide 5 years ago. Even as the police continue to probe, they have got a go-ahead from the court for a polygraph test on him.