Do not be surprised if you call up a local rail ticket booking agent and find out that the shop you’ve been purchasing your tickets from has folded up.
In raids conducted by the Railway Police Force (RPF) in the last few months on illegal ticket booking agents, lakhs of rupees and unwarranted rail tickets have been recovered.
The WR RPF had arrested 268 touts and seized fraudulent tickets to the tune of 1.34 crore in 2015, while in 2014, they had arrested 300 touts and recovered Rs 41.83 lakh. Sources in the RPF said that agents selling e-tickets fraudulently had been targeted, and that this fraud practice had gained steam by using the IRCTC website.
“We realised that with the Internet boom, the number of touts selling e-tickets fraudulently had gone up. It’s them we have been targeting,” said a senior RPF officer involved in the drive.
In 2015, the RPF busted 142 cases involving illegal sale of e-tickets, arrested 172 touts, seizing 3,460 e-tickets whose value is estimated at Rs 1.29 crore. We recovered Rs 5.82 lakh in cash. This number is substantially high when compared to 2014 when 52 cases involving illegal sale of e-tickets were registered, 58 touts arrested and 1858 e-tickets whose value is Rs 23.74 lakh seized, Rs 5.94 lakh was recovered in cash. “Our decoy teams visit touts as customers,” said Anand Vijay Jha, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner (Mumbai), WR.
During the checks, it was found that the agencies generated several e-tickets on personal IDs and sold them at a premium. They also had computer software that allowed them to book in bulk. The RPF have seized mobile phones, CPUs, printers, laptops, reservation forms, visiting cards, diaries, registers and books with passenger details to ensure the touts don’t escape.
Physical journey tickets (JCRT) have also been recovered. In 2015, 49 JCRT cases were registered and 62 people arrested. 311 JCRT were recovered of a value of Rs 5.47 lakh as against 194 cases registered in 2014. Last year, 232 arrests were made and 866 JCRT seized, valued at Rs 18.10 lakh. These bookings were done through fake IDs using common surnames such as Patel and Sharma.
Now, rules demand that every passenger carries a photo ID proof, and that his or her full name is provided while booking rail tickets.