New Delhi: Catering to a nation with a population exceeding 1.3 billion, the passenger transport of Indian Railways faces very high demand of seats and berths.
The demand-supply gap has widened over the years despite capacity augmentation by Indian Railways. This demand supply gap has led to mushrooming of many touts who use different means to corner reserved seats and then sell them to the needy on premium.
The use of illegal software for cornering confirmed railway reservations online had adversely affected the availability of confirmed tickets to the common man. RPF has been undertaking intensive and sustained action in a mission mode under code name “Operation Uplabdh” against persons involved in touting (unauthorized carrying on of business of procuring & supply of railway tickets).
Recently on the basis of pinpointed digital input supplemented by Human Intelligence, an RPF team succeeded in nabbing Mannan Vaghela (Travel Agent) of Rajkot on 8.5.2022 who was using illegal software i.e. COVID-19 to corner railway tickets in bulk.
Further, another person named Kanhaiya Giri (super Seller of illegal Softwares COVID-X, ANMSBACK, BLACK TIGER etc.) was arrested on 17.07.2022 from Mumbai on the basis of information provided by Vaghela. During interrogation, Giri spilled the beans and revealed the names of other associates and Admin/Developer Abhishekh Sharma of Vapi, who was also arrested on 20.07.2022. Abhishekh Sharma confessed about having been the Admin of all these Illegal Softwares. On the basis of leads provided by the arrested accused persons, 3 more accused persons, namely Aman Kumar Sharma, Virendra Gupta and Abhishekh Tiwari were arrested from Mumbai, Valsad (Gujarat) and Sultanpur (UP) respectively. RPF is in search of few more suspects involved in this case.
These accused persons were involved in development and sale of these illegal softwares using social media i.e. Telegram, Whatsapp etc. along with providing fake Virtual Numbers and Fake user IDs of IRCTC. These accused had softwares to create fake IP addresses used to bypass the restriction imposed on customers to obtain limited no of tickets per IP address. They sold disposable mobile numbers and disposable emails too which are used for OTP verification to create fake user IDs of IRCTC.
In course of legal action against all these accused persons in this case, 1688 tickets valued Rs. 43,42,750/- where journey could not be started have been seized and forfeited. In the past, they had procured and sold tickets worth 28.14 Crores earning huge commission. This shows the extent of generation of black money which could have funded other nefarious activities.
The inputs revealed by the accused are being examined threadbare by a team to plug the loopholes and take measures to stop such practice. This operation will continue in future.