387 ticket-touts arrested; Kolkata tops the list
New Delhi: In a major move, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) conducted a special "Operation Thunder" across the country, where it ceased 22,253 tickets of Rs. 32,99,093 on Thursday.
To ensure fairness and curb touts, the special drive was conducted throughout Indian Railways with the help of the commercial and vigilance department, it said.
While addressing to presspersons at the Rail Bhavan, Director General of RPF Arun Kumar said, "The force launches raids at various part of the country after getting information over the illegal ticket booking and such criminal activities. Raids have been conducted in 276 places of 141 cities so far. The fake bookings are being done through fake IDs."
According to the official IRCTC procedure, a maximum of five tickets can be booked through a single user ID in a day.
Adding further Kumar said that around 50,000 passengers have been affected by ticket-touting. All user IDs have been blocked and the process of identifying the touts are still going on. However, ministry officials have accepted that the process is challenging to curb the illegal ticket booking process in Tatkal quotas especially.
Besides, ANMS/ Red Mirche Software is being used to hack the IRCTC website to download the Tatkal form. Rajasthan tops the list, DG RPF informed. Meanwhile, the ministry has already communicated to the IRCTC to look into its loopholes and rebuilt the system.
Around 375 cases have been registered and 387 have been arrested during the "Operation Thunder". "Eastern Railways tops the list, where highest numbers of ticket-touts have been arrested. Largely Kolkata. Fifty-one cases have been registered from Kolkata. South East Central Railway zone comes after that. Then, Northern Railway, North Eastern Railway, Central Railway, East Coastal Railway, Southern Railway, South Eastern Railway and lowest numbers of cases have been registered in the Western Railway," DG RPF mentioned during the address.
Such e-tickets were sold at a premium with Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 extra per ticket. During summer holidays, a large number of passengers travel by trains, thereby the demand for reserved accommodation on trains increases and the touting agents cash in on this demand. However, the ministry did not clarify whether the railway officials are involved.