THE RAILWAYS has started investigating what its officials believe is an “audacious” racket in which an unidentified man conducted “job interviews” inside the ministry’s headquarters, and issued “appointment letters” with forged signatures of former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for the post of ticket collector.
“I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected for the job of ticket collector…,” said the purported appointment letter.
Officials said that early this month, seven people, who received these fake letters by post, appeared at the Delhi divisional headquarters to meet the Divisional Personnel Officer and join duty — only to be stopped by security personnel.
Another victim, Raj Kumar, a resident of Faridabad, had lodged an official complaint with the Railways last year and got an FIR registered at Parliament Street police station. The FIR claimed that Kumar paid Rs 5 lakh to secure the job of ticket collector to “Bhushan Sharma” who facilitated the process and conducted the “job interview” at Rail Bhavan.
“He asked me 10 questions out of which I could answer seven,” stated Kumar’s complaint to police and Railways.
Although the seven others refused to file a formal complaint, the Railways’ investigators have described the racket as “highly organised” because two of those duped produced fake duty passes, which closely resembled the original.
According to Kumar, he was interviewed inside a Railway Board room seven months ago, after which he lodged a complaint prompting the Railways to launch an investigation in December.
Delhi Police officers told The Indian Express that they visited Rail Bhavan’s Room No 9, where the “interview” took place. “There was no CCTV there. So there is no footage to see who it was,” said an officer, adding that the probe was “still open”.
Room No 9 is next to the reception counter on the ground floor. It was allotted to the ministry’s public relations division but remains locked. The area is usually crowded throughout the day amid heavy deployment of Railway Protection Force.
Railway investigators are now trying to retrieve CCTV footage of the reception area. “The problem is that only the last three months’ footage is usually saved. We have put in a request to retrieve footage from that period. We need to verify the complainant’s version, too,” said a railway officer.
Kumar’s fake appointment letter had the name of “Rajesh Gupta”, purportedly an officer from the 1992 batch of the Railway Mechanical Service, as issuing authority. But Railway officials said there was no such officer in their ranks.
Kumar claimed in his complaint that it was during a train journey that he met Sharma, who introduced himself as a railway officer. Kumar, who is married and unemployed, claimed that he met Sharma again outside the Railway hospital in Delhi where he paid Rs 25,000 to get a “medical certificate” issued as part of the recruitment process.