Online Tatkal booking softwares under CBI scanner

The sources said the softwares work on "auto fill" system where details of large number of ticket seekers are entered and kept ready even before Tatkal bookings open on the IRCTC website at 10 am for trains departing next day.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: December 31, 2017 1:46:08 pm
The CBI had arrested its assistant programmer and his front, Anil Gupta, for developing and distributing the software to agents for a price. (Express photo by Purushottam Sharma/Archives)

A number of online softwares, being used allegedly by travel agents to trick the Tatkal booking systems, have come under the scanner of the CBI during its probe against its techie who has developed a similar system, the agency sources said at New Delhi on Sunday.

During its probe against its own programmer, Ajay Garg, who had developed one such illicit software, the agency has noticed a large number of softwares which were easily available online for a price.

These were being used to trick the railway ticketing system by speeding up the booking process and allowing multiple tickets, they said.

The sources said ‘neo’ software developed by Garg is one among many such programmes available online, they said.

“All such softwares are under scanner. We are examining them and may soon take action, if any illegality is found in their operations,” an official said.

The sources said the softwares work on “auto fill” system where details of large number of ticket seekers are entered and kept ready even before Tatkal bookings open on the IRCTC website at 10 am for trains departing next day.

They said these softwares speed up the PNR generating process, bypassing the IRCTC captcha and allowing login with multiple IDs allowing a large number of ticket bookings simultaneously on a single click of mouse.

The softwares allow the users to fraudulently gain unauthorised access to computer network in contravention of rules and regulations, they said.

“Use of such software is illegal as per rules and regulations of the IRCTC and also under the Railways Act. It was also alleged that the accused was collecting money for the use of such software by certain booking agents and had amassed huge wealth from these activities,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

The CBI had arrested its assistant programmer and his front, Anil Gupta, for developing and distributing the software to agents for a price, he had said.

The ticket bookings under Tatkal quota open at 10 am for AC class and 11 AM for non-AC coaches for the trains departing next day.

Under the quota, a fixed number of seats, in each coach, are sold at a premium by the railways to travellers who need tickets urgently.

A common complaint of passengers is that by the time they enter details on the IRCTC website or complete booking process, seats under Tatkal quota gets full within minutes of start of the booking.

Their bookings are either rejected or they get a waitlisted ticket that too at a very steep prices.

Some travel agents offer to provide confirmed tickets under the quota by charging premium, over and above railways prices.

The arrest of Garg and Gupta has exposed the alleged software trickery used by them to exploit the vulnerabilities of IRCTC ticket booking system, the sources said.

Garg, a 35-year-old software engineer, had joined the CBI in 2012 through a selection process and was working as an assistant programmer.

Earlier, he had served with the IRCTC, which handles ticketing system of the railways, between 2007 and 2011.

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