The CBI has arrested an assistant programmer working with the probe agency and another person for developing and selling a software for booking railway tickets by “duping the Tatkal ticket booking system”, an official said on Wednesday.
Ajay Garg, 35, was held from Delhi on Tuesday night when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) got information about its employee indulging in the racket with the help of a private person Anil Kumar Gupta.
Garg was on Wednesday presented before a special court in Saket, which sent him to five-day CBI custody.
Gupta was held from his residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur late on Tuesday and is to be brought to Delhi on transit remand, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.
During the night-long operation, the CBI conducted raids at 14 locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur which led to the recovery of Rs 89.42 lakh cash, gold jewellery worth Rs 61.29 lakh, including two gold bars of one kg each, 15 laptops, 15 hard disks, 52 mobile phones, 24 sim cards, 10 notebooks, six routers, four dongles and 19 pen drives along with some incriminating material from the premises of the accused and others.
“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,” the CBI official said.
The official said that “use of such software is illegal as per rules and regulations of IRCTC and also under the Railways Act”.
“It was also alleged that Garg was collecting money for the use of such software by certain booking agents and had amassed huge wealth from these activities. The case is on the line with CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma’s policy of having a robust internal mechanism of ensuring probity and having zero tolerance towards corruption,” Dayal said.
The official, however, clarified that there was no loss to the IRCTC in the racket, but it was in another way a loss to the public who could not get tickets while trying to book it online.
The official said that as many as 10 agents, seven from Jaunpur and three from Mumbai, have also been identified.
The CBI has registered a case against Garg and Gupta under charges of criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code, computer-related offenses for unauthorized access and damage to computer and computer system, unauthorised carrying on of a business of procuring and supplying of railway tickets and criminal misconduct.
The official said Garg has been employed in the CBI since 2012. “Earlier, Garg worked with the IRCTC between 2007 and 2011 where he got loopholes in the IRCTC software.”
While working with the CBI, Garg, alumni of the Maharshi Dayanand University in Haryana’s Rohtak, developed the software to earn illegal money by selling it to the agents.
Garg used to receive money through “hawala transactions, in the form of Bitcoins — a cryptocurrency — and when his associate Gupta used to visit Delhi”.
Gupta used to deal with all agents directly and was known among them as the key person, said the CBI official, adding no one knows about Garg — the mastermind.
Describing the “illicit software”, the official said multiple tickets can be booked at one time by using the software. “Around 800-1,000 user IDs were being used to book railway tickets by using this software.”
“Garg gave a password to use the software and changed it from time to time. He charged the dealers on the basis of each ticket booked through this software. He was using proxy addresses and some foreign servers.
“We are yet to know the exact time period of the criminal act as the investigation process is in early stage but it seems the malpractice was being done for over one year and several persons from different cities were involved in it,” said the official.