Adversity gives rise to new ways to scam people. This is what touts have been doing with migrant labourers, who are leaving Mumbai and heading back to their native places. On April 20, a Central Railway team consisting of officers from Vigilance, Commercial and Railway Protection Force (RPF) caught two touts who owned a medical store and travel agency in Bhayandar.
The CR authorities came across this illegal sale of long-distance train tickets when they were checking passengers queuing up at stations of KurlaLokmanyaTilak Terminus (LTT) and ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharaj Terminus (CSMT). Most of the tickets were meant for north-bound trains to states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
“We caught some passengers with fake tickets illegally bought from these touts. Passengers might not know that these are touts who aren’t allowed to sell long distance train tickets,” said a CR official.
Sources said that when they came to know about a medical shop and travel agency selling train tickets, they did a recce of the location. They found that people were booking train tickets from a medical shop, Sai Baba Medical in Bhayandar. Likewise, a travel agency called Ravi Travels was allowed to sell tickets under Yatri Ticket Seva Kendra scheme where operators could sell reserved tickets but cannot overcharge.
The officers sent a decoy to the shop. “We sent our officer to the shops where he enquired about train ticket availability. He then bought the tickets and also paid fares with a premium of Rs 300-500 per ticket,” said another railway official.
In a joint raid, they apprehended one Sushil Singh from Sai Baba Medical and General Stores and Ravi Shukla from Ravi Travels. “After searching the premises, we came through 151 e-tickets worth Rs 1.11 lakh in possession of Sushil Singh, who admitted selling e-tickets at a premium. Ravi Shukla was found in possession of seven tickets amounting to Rs 17,945 and e-tickets,” said ShivajiSutar, Chief PRO, Central Railway.
Both were handed over to RPF from Kurla where cases were registered against them under section 143 of Indian Railway Act. They are also investigating if these touts edited the names of passengers, used software to speed up ticket booking and any other ways to cheat.