CBI probes corruption in EQ rail tickets

New Delhi:  CBI is probing alleged corruption to the tune of crores of rupees in sale of VIP or emergency quota tickets in the Railways and has sought records for the last two years, claiming that even signatures of MPs have been forged to confirm the tickets in some cases.

On an average day, as many as 35,000 tickets in various classes of all trains that originate from Delhi or across the city are reserved under the emergency quota which is also known as VIP or Headquarters quota.

The agency suspects that certain vested interests within various unions of railways and in alleged conspiracy with private travel operators confirm these tickets against a premium, official sources said in New Delhi.

The sources said that the agency had some requests which had forged signatures and in some cases even the letterheads were fake.

Initially, the probe may be limited to the national capital but, if required, it may cover other states, they said.

CBI has already registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) last week against unknown persons to carry out a thorough probe for misuse of the railway tickets issued under quota to various railway unions.

The quota is meant for emergencies which includes medical necessity but the agency has alleged that the process was abused by certain vested interests.

It had found some related documents while looking into the functioning of railways as part of its probe into the alleged bribery case involving the nephew of former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

In May last year, the CBI had also searched the office of an RPF inspector who had allegedly helped the sacked Railway Board member, Mahesh Kumar, besides shifting some movable assets from his Mumbai residence. Many documents which pointed to a scam in railway ticketing were recovered from there.

CBI had, during a discreet probe, claimed to have found that the emergency quota tickets to unions were being handed over to some travel agents who used to charge a huge price for confirming a waitlisted ticket.

A senior CBI official claimed it was a full-fledged racket. The official said the travel agents had been identified and would be called for examination soon besides some of the office bearers of a few railway unions who had allowed confirmation of wait listed tickets.