Why you couldn’t get Tatkal Train Ticket but your agent could?
Whether its any festive or New year celebration, you always plan your holidays trip at various destination within the country by Indian Railways rather by choosing to invest in costly air tickets.
Now during online booking of Railway tickets when you fill up your details you get that all the seats under Tatkal quota gets full within minutes of start of the booking and you immediately call up your travel agents and then you have to pay them a sum of somewhere between Rs 500-Rs 5000 as a commission for a confirmed tatkal ticket.
My first question is have you ever noticed that how the travel agents always manage to reserve a seat under the tatkal category on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website while you failed even after your hard try?.
Now my second question is, its not like that only during festive season there is a rush for booking tickets while you may notice even during off-seasonal periods the Same reply you used to receive from the agents and when you ask them that why there is always a scarcity of Railway tickets around the whole year then they very smartly skip your query but after you arrive at the particular berth of the compartment, you will notice that many vacant berths are still there for travel.
More surprising used to be the fact that some of the ticket agents were able to book the same confirmed tickets from their end. For this, these agents charged extra money. However, the customers complain bookings are either rejected or they get a wait-listed ticket that too at a very steep price.
Did you ever wonder why such issues? What was the game all about? The answer is very simple because there’s a big Scam running behind it. Let me reveals the bitter truth behind the scene.
Who is behind the SCAM?
Ajay Garg, ex-IRCTC employee and presently working with the CBI, was the kingpin of this entire network for developing an illegal software which he sold to the travel agents who then booked 800 – 1000 tickets at one go. Anil Garg along with numerous other persons has been running this racket for the past one year. Garg had worked with Indian railways since 2007-2011 and understood the vulnerabilities in the website. This helped him loot the Indian Railways and the common people.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday 27th December arrested the techie, Ajay Garg, from Delhi after it was found that he played a big role in a racket that duped the entire Tatkal system.
The CBI official said “It was alleged that Garg had developed an illicit software for duping the Tatkal ticket booking system being run by the IRCTC and conspired with Anil Kumar Gupta. They indulged in distributing the software to private persons for their unauthorized use for a hefty consideration”. Garg was allegedly the brain behind one such illicit software which allowed the ticket agents to book hundreds of Tatkal tickets with a single click of the mouse.
Along with Garg, CBI has also arrested Anil Gupta, who worked on the front while the former remained veiled. CBI has said that Gupta was responsible for developing and distributing the software to agents for a price. Besides Gupta, Garg’s family members are also alleged to be involved in the scam. Garg’s parents, wife, sister, and brother-in-law are believed to be instrumental in making collections from travel agents using his software.
How Garg learned those frailties?
The thirty-five-year-old Ajay Garg had joined the CBI in 2012 through a selection process and has been working as an assistant programmer. Earlier, he had served with IRCTC, which handles ticketing system of the railways, between 2007 and 2011. The CBI probe has found that Garg learned the vulnerabilities of the IRCTC ticketing software during his tenure there, which he exploited in his software.
How agents charged extra money?
After failing to book tatkal tickets, passengers would go to the travel agents to secure a berth in the trains departing the next day. Under Tatkal Booking system, a premium quota for the tickets opened at 10 am for AC class and 11 AM for non-AC coaches for the trains departing next day. Under the scheme, a fixed number of seats, in each coach, are sold at a premium by the railways to travelers who need tickets urgently.
The travel agents would approach Garg who would book the required number of berth through the fake website. The travel agent would then charge the passengers somewhere between Rs 500-Rs 5000. Even some travel agents offer to provide confirmed tickets under the quota by charging a premium, over and above railways prices.
How they collect the payment?
Well, it’s another surprising that Garg collected the money in the form of bitcoins and through hawala channels to avoid scrutiny.
Through the software, Garg was allegedly able to keep the statements of tickets booked by the agents and charged them on per ticket basis, in addition to the cost of the software.
The recovered treasures after searching
The CBI has carried out searches at 14 locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur during which it recovered Rs 89.42 lakh in cash, gold jewellery valued at Rs 61.29 lakh which include two gold bars of one kilogram each, 15 laptops, 15 hard discs, 52 mobile phones, 24 SIM cards, 10 notebooks, six routers, four dongles and 19 pen drives. The security agency has also arrested 10 agents, seven from Jaunpur and three from Mumbai in this connection so far.
The Indian railways already have an ongoing drive against ticket-less travelers and such illegal ticket booking, which creates artificial shortages of tickets.
“Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal has now further ordered to continue this drive and identify similar cases which are causing inconvenience to genuine passengers”.
So hope the coming year will really bring a relief for online booking of Tatkal Railway ticket.