Under the month-long pan India drive titled Operation Uplabdh, in March 2022, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) seized 1,688 tickets valued at Rs 43,42,750, said RPF officials.
“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,” said the official.
“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 the code name “Operation Uplabdh” against persons involved in touting (unauthorized carrying on of the business of procuring and supply of railway tickets),” the official further said.
Recently on the basis of pinpointed digital input supplemented by Human Intelligence, an RPF team succeeded in capturing Mannan Vaghela of Rajkot on May 8 who was using illegal software i.e. COVID-19 to corner railway tickets in bulk. Further, another person named Kanhaiya Giri, a super seller of illegal Software Covid-X, Anmsback, Black Tiger etc. was arrested on July 17 from Mumbai on the basis of information provided by Vaghela. During interrogation, Giri spilt the beans and revealed the names of other associates and admin/developer Abhishekh Sharma of Vapi, who was also arrested on July 20.
“Abhishekh Sharma confessed about having been the admin of all these illegal software. 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 a few more suspects involved in this case,” RPF said.
RPF further said, “These accused persons were involved in the development and sale of this illegal software using social media i.e. Telegram, Whatsapp etc. along with providing fake Virtual Numbers and Fake user IDs of IRCTC. These accused had software to create fake IP addresses used to bypass the restriction imposed on customers to obtain a 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 the course of legal action against all these accused persons, in this case, 1688 tickets valued at Rs. 43,42,750 where the journey could not be started have been seized and forfeited. In the past, they had procured and sold tickets worth Rs 28.14 crores earning huge commissions, RPF informed in a statement.
RPF launched a Pan India drive against the activities of touts throughout the country in March 2022.
Operation Upalabdh has been able to substantially curb the activities of touts and make railway tickets available to the common man.
Indian Railways have advised the common public not to procure tickets from unauthorized persons as it is not only likely to be forfeited once detected but may also land the buyer in legal trouble.