Mumbai: A female railway ticket booking agent allegedly committed suicide here today by setting herself on fire, in a toilet located in the Divisional Railway Manager’s office situated in CST Building in South Mumbai. However no suicide note was found.
Although the reasons for her suicide are yet to be ascertained, the police said that the victim Anita Kamla Prasad Patel (22) was disturbed since she could not sell tickets due to administrative reasons.
Anita Patel had deposited Rs.40,000 to become an authorised railway ticket seller and for the past few months, she had been requesting railway authorities to refund her deposit since she wanted to cancel her contract. Anita was reportedly upset over the railway authorities’ inability to refund her money which she had paid to become a Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewak (JTBS).
MRA Marg police have booked Commercial Inspector William Kerry, who is in charge of implementing the JTBS scheme, for abetement to suicide.
“The victim’s father has alleged that she had applied for the JTBS scheme in 2011 but had been harassed by an official over formalities,” said an officer.
According to the police, Patel, who is a Dombivli resident, had come to the Divisional Railway Manager’s office office today noon to enquire about her refund. At about 12.15 pm, police received a phone call stating a fire in the toilet room, said an officer at MRA Marg police station.
“When the police reached there, the toilet was found locked from inside. After we broke open the door, she was discovered with burn injuries and rushed to the nearby St George Hospital where she was declared dead upon arrival,” the officer said.
Two years ago, Patel had been selected as a Central Railways Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevak, which authorised her to sell long distance train tickets, the police said.
However, due to administrative reasons, she could not begin her work and hence she wanted a refund of the Rs 40,000 she had deposited.
Under the scheme, private operators are allowed to sell suburban train tickets from their shops in return for a commission.
Patel, who was a resident of Dombivali, was selected as a JTBS operator in 2011 but was allotted a terminal in Dombivali only earlier this year, said police.
She invested nearly Rs 2 lakh for the process, said railway sources. Of this amount, Rs 20,000 was paid as a bank deposit to CR. In August this year, the Railway Board made this bank deposit non-refundable as a rule.
“Patel was also unable to secure connectivity to the Railway server,” said an official.
Therefore, in November, Patel decided to cancel her application. The bank guarantee of Rs 20,000 was forfeited.
Around 12.30 pm Thursday, Patel had approached a railway official to enquire about her request. She was told that her cancellation request was accepted but she would not get the refund.
Patel reportedly walked into a toilet, bolted the door from inside and set herself afire using kerosene.