Railway Board orders nation-wide check of non-issue tickets after scam in Hatia

The fraud, running in crores of rupees, hints at susceptibility of UTS to manipulation. Director/Passenger Marketing, Railway Board directs SER General Manager to put 10 staffers, including three supervisory officers, under suspension

RANCHI: Railway Board has ordered a nation-wide check of Non-issue tickets issued from Unreserved Ticket System counters (UTS) after a massive fraud came to light at Hatia Railway Station of Ranchi Division in South Eastern Railway (SER), wherein some employees pocketed crores of rupees by manipulating the system. The severity of the fraud can be gauged that seven employees and three supervisors were suspended directly by Railway Board. Vikram Singh, Director, Passenger Marketing, Railway Board, in communication to General Manager, SER, directed immediate suspension of 10 staffers, identified in the letter, saying the fraud indicates complete collapse of administration system.

The scam was unearthed by Central Ticketing Checking Squad of Railway Board after they found unreserved ticket of high value but with wrong serial numbers. As the Squad dug deep they were aghast as they found was systematic rip off by certain employees by forming a ring. The Board’s communication about suspension is dated August 2, 2017.Among the supervisory officials suspended includes Chief Booking Supervisor, Section Commercial Inspector and Section TIA, few commercial clerk, senior Commercial Clerks, all numbering seven. Among the lower rung staff who were suspended included three ladies. As per details the scam was perpetuated by derailing the system. But the unearthing of fraud also shows the susceptibility of the system to manipulation. The scheme undertaken by perpetrators was so fine that it even escaped detection which is quite intense in the Railways, leaving the supervisory officials in bind.

The modus operandi of the commercial clerks (CC) at UTS counters was that they would first issue print order for value of Rs. 10. However before the printer could start the concerned CC would take off the ribbon due to which the ticket remained blank. This same blank ticket was then reissued but with a higher denomination, ranging in couple of hundred rupees, to the travellers. The system understood that this higher value ticket was printed on second one on the roll. But immediately thereafter the CC would use Not-issue command of same value as that of second UTS ticket for issuing third ticket. The ticket no. 2 and 3 would then be deposited thereby matching the amounts andindicating that all is well with the system and would even escape notice of a seasoned supervisor. Meanwhile, the CC would pocket the amount generated by issuing of first printed ticket of higher value.

Normally, the scam used to be perpetuated when a new roll was attached to the printer. Not-issue command in UTS is normally used in case the CC made a mistake while entering the passengers number, or destination or due to some error. But this same formula came handy for the fruadsters to milk the system.