CVC asks Railway Board to probe Travel Ventures International scam

At a time when railway minister PK Bansal is in the dock for his alleged links to corruption, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has asked the vigilance department of Railway Board to probe the TVI Express (Travel Ventures International) scam involving many Central Railway employees and officials.

In March, TOI had taken up the issue with the CVC. In reply, section officer with CVC Suneja Janardanan informed that the complaint regarding TVI scam has been duly examined and forwarded to chief vigilance officer (CVO) AK Maitra, who is also adviser to the Railway Board, for necessary action.

Ravindra Gupta, senior deputy general manager (SDGM), vigilance, Central Railway, was not available for comments. However, a senior vigilance officer in Mumbai confirmed to have received a letter from CVC regarding TVI scam. “We are looking into the issue,” he said.

In October last, TOI had exposed the Ponzi scheme in which railway officials and employees lured insiders and outsiders into network marketing business. It did not involve selling any products but was a discount travel club membership network which offered four-day and three nights stay in five-star hotels all over India by paying Rs15,500. It was a pyramid scheme in which by recruiting at least two persons, members were promised immediate returns of Rs31,000.

TOI reports were based on inputs by employees and victims who are shy of filing written complaints to avoid hassles. Those employees who filed complaints were forced to withdraw by officials who were involved. A group of women had filed a written complaint with Brijesh Dixit, divisional railway manager (DRM).

However, even after seven months there are conflicting claims about the inquiry into the scam. Senior divisional personnel officer (SrDPO) BK Panigrahi said the inquiry is over and the final report has been submitted to senior divisional operating manager (SrDOM) Satyendra Kumar two weeks ago. But, Kumar has not yet received the report. Both the officials sit in the same office building. Divisional operating managers (DOMs) and department employees were involved in the scam but only a few have been transferred.

The vigilance department has also launched a probe into misuse of railway employees by engaging them for housekeeping. TOI has time and again highlighted the issue. One of the complainants has sent the vigilance officials a list of 24 employees who worked in bungalows of railway officers instead of their original place of posting.