CBI arrested Ravi Mohan Sharma, a 1997 batch official of the IRTS, while accepting the bribe of Rs.5 lakh at his Delhi residence

Mumbai : After yet another ticketing scam in the railways came to light on Wednesday with the arrest of a senior official, top sources in the railways say that the ticketing system is flawed.

The CBI on Wednesday arrested Ravi Mohan Sharma, a 1997 batch official of the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), while accepting the bribe of Rs.5 lakh at his Delhi residence. The bribe from a Mumbai-based tout was to run a special train for pilgrims and add coaches to the existing trains for pilgrims. The incident comes a fortnight after an e-ticketing fraud running into crores with the connivance of an IRCTC official.

Explaining the pilgrim train case, a senior railway official said, “The booking seems to be made for the special trains for pilgrims based in Mumbai. The booking for the entire train is done on a first-come, first-served basis. The Indian Railway has only 50,000 coaches which are used to run the existing services. The special trains are only announced when there is a large demand.”

 D P Pandey, one of the four members in the Railways Board heading traffic department, said, “It is a very sad incident and will be taken seriously, the necessary actions will be taken against the officer involved.”  He further added, “Details of the case will be looked into. If it was a systemic failure then steps to improve it will be taken accordingly.”

A former Chairman of the Railway Board requesting anonymity, said, “Even I cannot get a ticket when it comes to booking it from IRCTC website as it is very complicated. The booking system of the train has to be more transparent and simplified for the common man.”

A K Jhingron, retired General Manager of Western Railway, said, “The train booking system of railways has improved over the years but steps need to be taken to fix loopholes in the system which are being misused. This incidence can be a part of learning experience and it should be ensured it is not repeated in the future.”

Regular travellers feel the system is too lethargic and higher officials need to take responsibility. Parkash Bhatt, a student at Mumbai University, said, “The higher ups like Railway Board members should take responsibility of their officer along with stringent punishment for the culprit. If there is no accountability and steps are not taken to change the situation things will move on and commuters will have to suffer as they have been over the past years.”

Madhu Kotian of Mumbai Railway Passengers Sangh, said, “Railways is in losses but its officers make huge profits. The officials caught are very few as compared to the number of culprits. The system needs to be simplified so that people can book their own tickets without involvement of touts and corrupt officers.”

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