Central Railway blames GRP for fake TC ‘mess’

MUMBAI: The Central Railway (CR) has crossed swords with the Government Railway Police (GRP) over fake ticket checkers (TCs). Nine fake TCs were caught in the first five months of this year, as compared to seven in all of 2018. The increase, believes the CR, is owing to the GRP’s failure to track down the prime racketeers.

Most of the fake TCs caught this year were exposed by the ticketing staff themselves or by suspicious passengers. On May 21, Swapnil Bohite, 28, was nabbed by on-board ticket checking staff while travelling on Punjab Mail with a fake ID card. After being handed over to the Kalyan GRP, Bohite a man had handed him the ID card after persuading him that he could scoring a free journey by posing as a TC.

“This indicated that there is a bigger racket involved,” said a CR official. “If only the GRP investigates such cases thoroughly, can people running these rackets be booked.”

Another official said it took a letter from the CR 10 days after Bohite’s arrest to get the GRP to delve further into his claim. After the prodding, the GRP subsequently traced an agent, Anwar Amboli, who procured fake ID cards from a man in Jalgaon- identified only as Farook-and sold them to people in different parts of the country. But when a GRP team reached Jalgaon, it found that Farook had died. “The local police told us that police officials from several states had arrived looking for him,” said a GRP official.

On the delay in tracking down Farook, “We have jurisdiction only over railway premises. Most of the times, the sale of such ID cards takes place in city limits. It takes the case out of our preview.”

In another case, Pooja Rautuu, 23, was nabbed by a TC as she checked tickers from passengers of Pragati Express at Dadar station. Rautuu was found with an ID card that identified her as a ticket checking staff from the commercial department but reporting to the vigilance team. After being handed over to the GRP, she said she was given the card from a person identified as Shivaji Pawar, who had simply told her that she had been appointed as a TC.

Prasad Pandre, senior GRP inspector, said Pawar was traced to Pune. “He was dismissed from service from the railways. He had sold the card to Pooja after taking money from her brother on the pretext of getting her a job.”

Officials from the railways’ commercial department pointed out that in view of the increase in the number of cases of fake TCs, a QR code has been developed which will allow passengers to procure all details of ticketing staff. “It is also a way to ensure that our staff is not roughed up by commuters doubting their credentials,” said an official.

On the CR’s charge of a lax attitude towards the fake TC menace, Ravindra Sengaokar, the GRP commissioner who took charge recently, said his officials will look into all cases closely. “We will ensure that none of the culprits go scot-free.”