मुंबई Mumbai: RPF Central Railway unit alongwith CR Commercial and Vigilance departments busted what might be one of the biggest ever tout operations, in which cost of tickets booked fraudulently was approx. Rs.2.00 Crore. Over the past few days RPF have arrested travel agency owners and their accomplices involved in the racket. However, its biggest catch was an Ahmedabad based software developer, who was making and distributing ‘automation’ software that helped agents to break the queue on IRCTC website for booking multiple tickets at one go.
Software developer Kulbir Singh was indeed a surprise packet. He’s a post-graduate in English and gives tuition when not making various types of software to circumvent lengthy government accounting or ticket-buying formats.
The story began with the arrest of father-son duo of Rajendra and Mahesh Bafna from Govandi. RPF personnel recovered 478 e-tickets worth Rs.9.3 lakh from them.
After interrogating the two, RPF picked up one Kalpesh Shah and his accomplice Sandeep from Virar on September, 25th and recovered 61 tickets, 5 mobile phones, including i-phone 6L, 6 pen drives, 9 CPUs and an Apple I-Mac computer from Shah’s Virar office. From Shah’s pendrive, RPF got clues about another 850 tickets worth Rs.39.52 lakh. The folders on Shah’s computers yielded information on another 901 e-tickets worth Rs.26.93 lakh.
Shah’s interrogation threw up the name of one Guru Patel, who was distributing the software to smaller travel agents and touts, and Kulbir Singh.
Patel was picked up from Dharavi on Saturday and Singh from Charoti Naka area in Dahanu. RPF officials said his father-in-law, Mahesh Balotia, had helped them track down Singh. RPF are now on the lookout for one Salman, who Singh claimed he worked for.
“It’s not as if he hacked into IRCTC website or its server. The software developed by Singh is a sort of an automation software that allows a user to book tickets within the first few minutes of reservation counters being opened. It gives them the opportunity to book tickets faster than others who have logged in, or are standing in queue at counters. We hope to get to the bottom of this to root out the menace for ever,” said Alok Bohra, senior commandant, RPF, CR/Mumbai.