After launching its biggest crackdown on railway ticket agents and touts, the Special Intelligence Branch of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) is now probing the role of insiders involved in the racket which runs into several crores.
The RPF has sought details from the commercial department of the railways about the real-time data of e-tickets. However, the crucial data is yet to be shared with the investigating agency.
Sources said that once the data relating to the booking of e-tickets and payment channels of various ticket agents across the country are made available, a clearer picture of the nationwide ‘Tatkal’ ticket racket will emerge.
When asked about the involvement of insiders, or lower staff in the racket, the Director General RPF, Arun Kumar, said: “It’s a matter of investigation. I cannot share any details at this stage.”
Sources said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has appreciated RPF’s investigation, called Operation Thunder, into the ticket fraud. The Minister has given the go-ahead to initiate action if any insider is involved in the racket.
The RPF rounded up more than 405 touts from raids conducted in 205 cities and towns relating to the booking of Tatkal Seva and e-ticketing. During the course of investigation, it was discovered that most of the ticket agents and touts use specific software to fraudulently book e-tickets under Tatkal Seva.
The tickets are later sold to passengers at high rates. The RPF and its intelligence branch were gathering evidence related to ticket frauds for the past few months.
Sources in the RPF said a software, ‘ANMS/Red Mirchi’, has been seized from Kota, Rajasthan, which was being used to hack into the Tatkal facility offered by the IRCTC, which is now being rectified.
According to an official of the RPF, 387 user IDs under which these tickets were booked frequently have been blacklisted and the tickets have been deactivated. RPF has also instructed all zonal railways to continue such raids in their areas to mount pressure on the touts.