India train crash
Officials and bystanders gather beside the wreckage of train carriages at Rura, some 30kms west of Kanpur, following a train crash in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Sanjoy Kanojia/AFP

Nepali authorities have arrested a key mastermind behind India's Kanpur train tragedy that killed close to 150 people. Samshul Hoda was detained at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal on Monday (6 February) after he was deported from Dubai.

"We have heard that Hoda is wanted in a railway accident that took place in Kanpur last year killing 150 people. Nepal Police will also work in close coordination with the Indian Police for Hoda's alleged involvement in criminal activities in India," said deputy inspector general of police, Pashupati Upadhyaya. The three other suspects –Brij Kishor Giri, Ashish Singh and Umesh Kumar Kurmi, all Nepali nationals – were earlier arrested by the Indian authorities throwing clues on Hoda's whereabouts.

Police officials said they coordinated with the Interpol to get Hoda out of Dubai. They suspect is a Delhi-based Nepali citizen and has been involved in numerous incidents both in Nepal and India. The Indian intelligence suspects he has close links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

It is still unclear when the alleged mastermind would be brought to India but members of law enforcement agencies are preparing to travel to Nepal for initial interrogation. His arrest has been hailed as a vital breakthrough.

"There are no contradictions whatsoever in what they had told the Bihar police earlier and now the Central agencies. They seem to be very sure of and consistent in their 'disclosures'. Also, technical evidence points to conversations between the arrested accused on the one hand and Nepalese handler Brij Kishore Giri, Dubai-based mastermind Shamsul Hoda as well as Karachi-based suspected ISI agent Shafi Shaikh on the other, lending credence to the ISI involvement theory," an officer from the Indian home ministry was quoted as saying.

The train disaster took place in November after the Patna-Indore Express, a passenger train, derailed near the northern Indian city of Kanpur ended up claiming the lives of 145 people.