Veraval (Guj), Jun 23 (PTI) The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has busted a racket allegedly involved in booking tatkal tickets and selling them to the needy passengers at a premium by arresting nine persons including four employees of Railways over the last two months, an official said.
'The ninth accused, Ravi Gupta, who is a Surat-based agent involved in black-marketing of illegally issued tatkal train tickets, was arrested by the RPF on Wednesday,' said sub-inspector of Veraval RPF police station, Udaybhan Singh.
Before Gupta, RPF had arrested eight persons under the Railways Act after registration of an FIR on April 28.
Investigations have revealed that booking clerks of smaller meter-gauge railway stations, such as Sasan-Gir and Damnagar, used to book tatkal tickets at the behest of some agents who used to sell these tickets at a very high rate to the needy passengers, Singh told reporters, adding that the racket was going on for the last one year.
Tatkal tickets worth Rs 1 lakh were booked every day from four smaller railway stations of Gujarat, said Singh.
Till now, the RPF had arrested four Railway staffers including booking clerks at Talala, Visavadar and Sasan-Gir stations and the deputy station superintendent of Damnagar.
Four agents who were arrested earlier were identified as Irafan, Mehboob Ali, Tausif and Tahir Hussain, said Singh.
According to another official, all the previously arrested accused are now out on bail.
'In April, three tatkal tickets for the journey from Ahmedabad and Surat till Lucknow, Muzzafarnagar and Shahgunj, respectively, were booked from Sasan-Gir railway station. It came under our radar because the tickets were booked despite the fact that no one actually visited the station to book or get the tickets,' said Singh.
Based on the PNR numbers, RPF traced the passengers in Ahmedabad and Surat, who told police to have bought the tickets from agents at a very high price. For a ticket of Rs 2,800, one passenger had paid Rs 8,800 to the agent, said Singh.
Later, the RPF found out that tatkal tickets for major stations between Gujarat and other states were being booked in unusually high volume from other meter gauge railway stations such as Damnagar, Visavadar and Talala as well.
'Railway employees were in contact with agents from Ahmedabad, Surat and Mumbai. Clerks used to book the tickets after getting the details from the agents on WhatsApp. The tickets were then sent to the agents through private bus drivers. Agents used to deposit money in the bank accounts provided by the railway staffers,' said Singh.
'This racket was going on for the last one year and tatkal tickets worth Rs 1 lakh were booked per day from these small railway stations. After we busted the racket, there is a significant fall in the number of tickets booked now,' he added. PTI Cor PJT NSK NSK