Donning a black coat and tie, this 28-yr-old conned railway commuters as a ticket collector, extorting them for fines, before a former railway official's son called his bluff


This is surely the shortest route taken by someone to the land the job of a ticket collector.

While other aspiring candidates studied for exams and appeared for interviews, 28-year-old school dropout Santosh Gawde simply walked into a store and spent Rs 2,100 for a black coat.

Santosh Gawde (black vest) was spotted checking
tickets outside the Ghatkopar railway station

And then the conning began. After a six-month long stint extorting people as a fake ticket collector, his luck ran out last Thursday, when a former WR official's son nabbed him.

Gawde, who dropped out of school in Std VI, had always harboured the dream of becoming a ticket collector, and decided that it was easier to resort to underhand means to achieve his cherished goal than to acquire the necessary qualifications.

"He purchased a suit for Rs 2,100, and started posing as a ticket collector. He was doing a fine job of conning people until he went on a fine-collecting spree," said an officer from Kurla GRP.

Gawde's heydays as a fake ticket collector ended when Shashank Mishra, son of a retired WR Public Relations Officer, spotted him checking tickets outside the Ghatkopar railway station.

"On Thursday, Mishra and his friend Ajgar Ajim were returning home to Badlapur," said Shivaji Dhumal, senior inspector of police, Kurla GRP.

"When they were about to descend the stairs to platform number one, they were stopped by Gawde, who had donned the black suit. Mishra, who is well-versed with the functioning of WR, found his demeanour suspicious," he added.

Mishra, who is a student at Somaiya College, said, "His appearance was dishevelled. Moreover, he was standing outside the station premises to check tickets, and this caught my attention. Upon observing him, I noticed that he was taking money from a female commuter, and refusing to give her a receipt."

Mishra intervened, and demanded that Gawde produce his ID card. Gawde's hesitation convinced Mishra that he had accosted a conman, and he caught hold of Gawde by the collar and dragged him to the Kurla police station.

"We contacted Gawde's brother, who informed us that Gawde has cheated several people in the past.
He had been conning people for six months, usually victimising illiterate people, who would never ask to see his ID card," said Dhumal.
Gawde has been booked under sections 170 and 171 of the IPC, for impersonating a public servant with fraudulent intent.