TTE made to apologise, return fine of ticketless cop

Woman examiner fines senior inspector of CST GRP aboard Pune-Mumbai train; cop hauls her to station master's cabin, gathers colleagues, makes her give him the money back

'Fine a railway cop at your own risk'. That was the message meted out by a Government Railway Police officer to a ticket checker who was just doing her job.

Playing the cop card: Surendranath Deshmukh was fined Rs 310 aboard
the Mumbai-bound Deccan Queen on Monday. Representation Pic

Last Monday, a lady travelling ticket examiner (TTE) was forced to return the fine money she had collected from the ticketless railway senior police inspector because -- as per the rationale he furnished -- he was a railway police inspector. She was asked to apologise to him for her act, as around 15 policemen allegedly threatened to implicate her in a false case if she didn't, ticket officials said.

The impudence!
According to a senior TTE, the incident happened around 10 am. Surendranath Deshmukh, the newly-appointed senior inspector, government railway police (GRP), CST was travelling aboard the Deccan Queen from Pune to Mumbai. On the outer limits of the city, Meena Salunkhe, head TTE and a resident of Pune on duty aboard the train, asked him to produce his ticket. Deshmukh refused to oblige to her "ridiculous" demand. He said that he was the senior inspector at CST railway station in Mumbai. When Salunkhe asked him to show his identity card (ID), he could not produce one.

So Salunkhe, who has been a TTE for 15 years, proceeded to do her job. She fined him Rs 310 for ticketless travel and gave him a receipt. Then, Salunkhe realised that Deshmukh was sitting on seat no 108, reserved for TTEs. She requested him to vacate it but the cop, once again, refused to comply.

It was around 10 am when the train finally halted at CST. But officials revealed that before that, Deshmukh rang a woman police officer who pulled up Salunkhe for her "audacity". "Deshmukh felt insulted and he wanted to teach Salunkhe a lesson for daring to fine him," said a TTE who did not wish to be named.

'Say sorry'
At CST, Deshmukh commanded Salunkhe to the station manager's cabin where the TTE chief (Mumbai) Onkar Singh, Assistant Commercial Manager (ticket checking) Raj Shankaran, and an ACP of the GRP also appeared, sources said.

There, the ACP shared his own past experiences. "He was saying something about how a TTE had caught him for travelling without a ticket but released him without fining him because the cop had threatened to get him killed in a fake encounter," said a TTE who witnessed the scene in the cabin.

Sources also said that at the cabin the policemen told her that if she did not return his money they would exact revenge. After two hours, Salunkhe buckled. She handed over the fine money to the railway inspector and apologised to him.

Said a TTE, "We knew what was happening but we were all helpless. Our boss Onkar Singh was not on our side. She had to apologise with tears in her eyes."

Asked about the out-of-order incident, Salunkhe said, "I cannot comment on the matter."

But for head TTE Onkar Singh, it's all okay now. "The matter is over. Now, all is well."

MiD DAY tried to contact ACM Raj Shankaran, but he remained unreachable for comment.

The other side
Said Deshmukh, "She (Salunkhe) has apologised. The matter is over. Everyone knows that GRP men are eligible to travel without ticket in the first class. I am new at CST and my ID card is being processed. She has accepted in front of all railway officials that I am innocent. I did not mistreat her."

The railway guidelines state no rule exempts GRP officials from travelling without a ticket.
"No comments," said AK Singh, public relations officer (PRO), Central Railway.

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