The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) anti-corruption unit in Pune has busted a racket of railway ticket “waiting lists” getting confirmed through VIP quota in lieu of money, with suspected involvement of some railway ministry officials. The racket, the agency said, was spread across several cities in the country.
CBI sources said the arrest of a key suspect believed to be the link between touts and railway ministry officials led to identification of some others involved.
CBI officers from the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) got a tip off about a Pune-based travel agent Sachin Naikwade who promised confirmation of railway ticket reservations through VIP quota charging Rs 2,000 more than the fare. A search conducted at his office on April 30 led the CBI to a middleman Dinesh Kumar from Samastipur in Bihar who operated from Delhi, said CBI sources.
An ACB team led by deputy superintendent of police Rajpal Singh arrested Dinesh Kumar on Monday, after he was called to the CBI office and did not cooperate in investigations, said the CBI.
The CBI had raided Dinesh’s house in Samastipur where some documents were recovered.
Investigations revealed seven bank accounts in which money from customers was deposited.
A probe revealed that Dinesh used to get PNR numbers of “waiting list” tickets from touts and forward it to some persons in Delhi via SMS. These tickets were confirmed through VIP quotas of some MPs or MLAs. It has come to light that some railway ministry officials have been getting this done with the help of some employees of the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) offices.
According to the CBI, further investigation may lead to the arrest of some officers from Rail Bhavan-the headquarters of Indian Railways-and those from regional DRM offices.
Without involvement of senior officers this corruption was not possible, said CBI sources. Every day, thousands of “waiting list” tickets are confirmed through VIP quotas. It is believed that illegal transactions of lakhs of rupees take place every day, said an officer.
Sources said the CBI is also trying to find the VIP quota of which MPs or MLAs were used for this and whether recommendation letters for the same were forged or sneaked from offices of elected representatives. The CBI stated that Dinesh might be taken to Delhi and Patna for identification of the other accused.