Railway police seizes e-tickets worth ₹10 crore

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 18, 2020

This is one of the biggest e-ticketing frauds that has happened

The Railway Protection Force of the Western Railway on Monday arrested a 34-year-old software engineer identified as Amit Prajapati from Ankleshwar, Gujarat confiscating railway e-tickets worth more than 10 crores according to media reports.

This is the largest e-ticket recovery in the history of Railways according to media reports.

According to the Mumbai Mirror, RPF seized 37,796 train tickets amounting to ₹10.56 crore from Prajapati. Most of the tickets that were confiscated had already been used by passengers who had cornered the tickets from Prajapati. However, 8,569 tickets that were yet to be used had been immediately blocked by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The tickets were worth ₹2.59 crore, according to the report.

The tickets had been purchased and sold to customers through fake IDs. Hence, there is no way for the officials to alert the customers of the ticket being blocked, the report said.

The customers are liable to have their tickets blocked in case of fraudulent transactions as per a Railway official quoted in a Times of India report. Prajapati operated over 50,000 personal user IDs on the IRCTC portal, as per the report.

The officials were tipped off by a suspicious IP address being used to purchase tickets from IRCTC web portal and had tracked Prajapati from there on tracing him to a GTPL broadband service located in Surat, Mumbai Mirror reported.

Prajapati purchased tickets at a faster internet speed than normal using illegal software and touting them off to unsuspecting customers, according to the officials.

RPF was further suspicious of Prajapati’s involvement in an earlier e-ticket racket unearthed by officials in January, Mumbai Mirror reported. In one of the biggest crackdowns on e-ticket racketeering, the RPF had arrested a self-taught software developer from Jharkhand identified as Ghulam Mustafa.

Mustafa had been arrested from Bhubaneswar. He had 563 personal IRCTC IDs. He was also suspected to have accounts in 2,400 SBI branches and 600 regional rural banks, according to an Economic Times report.

Mustafa was allegedly running a YouTube channel where he uploaded videos teaching people how to hack e-ticket portals. The scandal was also linked to terror financing with the kingpin of the whole operation, identified as Hamid Ashraf allegedly having fled to Dubai.

Prajapati had agreed to visit Dubai in November 2019 but only as a tourist, according to the media report.

Others rackets

In another instance of illegal e-ticket sales, RPF had arrested an employee of Gangavaram Port on charges of hacking into the IRCTC e-ticket portal.

The man was accused of generating tatkal railway tickets by using illegal software—Makkhichoose and Super Tatkal to generate tickets at a faster pace, The Hindu had reported. RPF had recovered 614 tickets amounting tot ₹9.99 lakh from the hacker.

Published on February 18, 2020

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