New Delhi: In a shocking revelation, IBN Network and Cobrapost has exposed a nexus between rail ticket touts, police and railway officials wherein the touts are allowed to buy tickets in bulk against false names.
In the sting operation conducted by IBN Network and Cobrapost, rail clerks have admitted on camera that they can get RAC and Waitlist tickets confirmed illegally.
Also, RPF constables said on camera that policemen were paid bribes of Rs 200 to Rs 1000 daily as per rank by the touts.
All of us have travelled in trains at some stage, and most of us have wondered why is it so difficult for passengers to manage tickets. It is because of this rot which runs so deep in the railways that it is simply shocking.
If the tickets for the festival season are already sold out, it is because of this deep-rooted nexus between illegal touts, corrupt police officials, and railway clerks prepared to defraud the system.
Cobrapost's undercover reporter posing as a travel agent met railway reservation clerk Kanhaiyalal at the New Delhi station reservation office. It was soon after an IBN network expose on tatkal bookings, therefore, Kanhaiyalal was cautious, but ready to do business.
Here is the transcript of the conversation:
Kanhaiyalal: There have been many raids at the stations also.
Kanhaiyalal: Yes. Many travel agencies raided also.
Kanhaiyalal confirmed that he has been involved with illegal ticketing for years, and explained just how the nexus operates.
Kanhaiyalal: Two to three months before the festival season, touts buy tickets worth lakhs, and then sell during the season.
Reporter- Three months in advance?
Kanhaiyalal: The touts take a gamble. In emergency situations, passengers pay any amount for tickets. For a Rs 1100 ticket, touts charge Rs 2000.
Reporter: In emergency… people pay.
Kanhaiyalal: Trains are crowded, they have no option.
Reporter: Should I get 50-100 fake tickets made?
Kanhaiyalal: First check if you can sell them.
'Gatte' is a code word used for tickets. Kanhaiyalal said he charged the illegal touts Rs 6 to Rs 7 for each ticket. He also explained how to approach railway clerks at their counters.
Reporter: What CD (commission) do agents pay to get 'Gatte' (tickets) issued?
Kanhaiyalal: We charge Rs 5 to Rs 8 per ticket.
Reporter: Then we go to the ticket counters to get the tickets made?
Kanhaiyalal: You pay the clerks at ticket counters. When you see them at the railway station, meet them, buy them tea. Once the clerk comes to know you, he will do business with you.
Kanhaiyalal: Just do as I have told you.
Reporter: Okay, I'll hire 3-4 boys to operate at reservation counters.
Kanhaiyalal: Your boys will stand in the queues. After getting one round of tickets, they can get back in the queue, fill more forms with fake names and get more tickets. If the ticket clerks know you, they will issue the tickets.
Kanhaiyalal advised our undercover reporter to get into the ticketing scam at Delhi's Nizamuddin railway station, promising to put him in touch with a fellow railway clerk who works there.
Kanhaiyalal: Send your boys to Nizamuddin Railway Station to buy tickets. I will introduce you to clerks there also.
Reporter: You will introduce me to railway clerks at Nizamuddin station?
Kanhaiyalal: Yes, I will.
Through Kanhaiyalal, we met railway clerk Ghanshyam near the Nizamuddin railway reservation office. We told him we would need over 100 tickets per day to sell illegally. As he also prepared the train reservation charts, Ghanshyam said he was better placed to help us.
Ghanshyam: If you have a RAC or wait-list ticket, I will get it confirmed.
Reporter: So should I get 100-200 fake tickets issued?
Ghanshyam: Get as many tickets made as you want.
Ghanshyam: Whose address will you get the tickets issued on? Address can be yours or a fake one.
Ghanshyam said the key for a tout to evade the police was to never carry more than one reservation form.
Ghanshyam: I will tell reservation clerks to issue four ticket forms to you at a time, or even six. The trick is that you shouldn't be held with multiple tickets and forms on yourself.
Ghanshyam: Have a deal with local shopkeepers at the station. Ask Paanwalas and others to keep your tickets and forms.
So, why aren't confirmed tickets available? It is because touts do bulk booking on fake names with the help of clerks like Kanhaiyalal and Ghanshyam and then re-sell them at much higher rates.
Ghanshyam: A sleeper class ticket for Patna is for Rs 360 but is sold at Rs 1000.
Reporter: It's only for sleeper class tickets? For AC class one needs an ID proof?
Ghanshyam: Yes, only for sleeper class.
Reporter: Should I put the age brackets between 22-30 years?
Ghanshyam: Yes! Fill age as 25-35 years in the forms.
Reporter: 25-30 years?
Ghanshyam: Use fake names like Sudhir, Ganesh, Vinod, Mehboob. Simple names, no surnames.
As authorised travel agents earn a commission of Rs 30 per ticket, Ghanshyam assured us of much higher returns.
Ghanshyam: Authorised agents gets just Rs 30 as commission, whether ticket is for one or four people. What will you get by earning just Rs 30 per ticket?
Ghanshyam and Kanhaiya Lal are just two among many railways clerks, who collude daily with touts in the illegal railway ticket scam.
Indian railways, which is the world's largest rail network, carries maximum number of passengers daily, and this is the state of ticketing in the national capital. Now, here's a look at the role of policemen, employed and deployed to look after us.
Constable Pohep Singh of the Railway Protection Force (RPF), who is supposed to police railways premises, is in fact a key player in the illegal railway ticket scam.
Pohep Singh: You will have to pay us every month. For 14 days, it will be Rs 200.
Pohep Singh: If you need help from officers on duty during the day, it is Rs 100.
Cobrapost's undercover reporter met Pohep Singh at New Delhi Railway Station, posing as a tout wanting to deal in illegal tickets. Pohep Singh first gave the rate card.
Pohep Singh: Count the number of officers, than see what has to be paid.
Reporter: What's their charge?
Pohep Singh: It's between Rs 400, Rs 500 up to Rs 1000.
Pohep Singh: The payment has to be made before the 10th of every month.
Reporter: A total amount of Rs 5000?
Pohep Singh: Yes, and then on 20th and 13th.
Reporter: What about them sir?
Pohep Singh: It is Rs 8000 for eight people. What's the total number?
Reporter: Thirteen people sir.
Pohep Singh: So 100 for 13 people and then calculate 200, Rs 1000 as well.
Reporter: Eighteen in all then.
Pohep Singh: So, 18 RPF personnel and 18 also on the GRP side.
Pohep confirmed that his seniors also got a cut from the racket every month to protect the touts from police vigilance raids.
Pohep Singh: In such a situation, we will warn you to run away.
Reporter: That's what we want.
Pohep Singh: We take phone numbers of the touts and call them.
As new entrants into the ticketing racket Pohep advises the reporter to meet his senior colleague, Surajbhan, as well.
Pohep Singh: You must go and meet the Inspector.
Reporter: Where can I meet him?
Pohep Singh: You can meet him there but don't take my name.
Reporter: No, No. What's the Inspector's name?
Pohep Singh: Its Tiwari. Or meet Head Constable Surajbhan, he knows everything, he will tell you. He wears civil clothes not in uniform.
RPF head-constable Surajbhan, sitting at a travel agent's shop near the New Delhi Railway station, agreed to deal with the reporter.
Surajbhan: You have to pay every month. The touts who operate here won't let you work.
Reporter: I wont be there myself sir, I need your support.
Surajbhan: GRP works in two shifts.
Surajbhan: During the day Jeetender is on duty, he's fat. At night others are on duty. Manish is at night, it is Shambhu in the day.
It is an open nexus between travel agents and the RPF. The travel agent in whose shop we met Surajbhan Singh admitted that he also dealt in illegal tickets.
It's a nexus so deep-rooted that most railway police personnel know the rates and how the racket operates.
So this is how this nexus actually works.
The Government Railway Police or GRP is responsible for passenger security at major railway stations, but is that all some of them do? Reporter met constable Shambhu Singh at a police post near New Delhi railway station.
Reporter: I have already spoken to Surajbhan.
Shambhu Singh: The one in the RPF? Ok, I will charge Rs 500.
Reporter: Is that the rate for every constable? How many do I have to pay?
Shambhu Singh: Rs 2000 for two constables at the start.
Reporter: Okay Sir.
Shambhu Singh: And Rs 500 per day.
Reporter: There will be no problem after I pay you, right?
Shambhu Singh: No problem from our side (GRP), you have also spoken to RPF constables. You have to look out for vigilance officers.
Reporter: How do I speak to vigilance officers?
Shambhu Singh: You will get to know this business. They are also paid Rs 200.
It means that a token amount of Rs 2000 is required to enter the illegal ticketing business, and then Rs 15000 as a monthly bribe. Shambhu Singh also introduced us to constable Lokendra Kumar, who confirmed that police officers who conducted vigilance raids were also part of the racket.
Reporter: Sir, I was told to pay Rs 500 daily.
Lokendra Kumar: That's the rate we charge everyone.
Reporter: Shambhu Singh and you work are in the same department?
Lokendra Kumar: Yes, we work together.
Reporter: Shambhu said eight of you are on duty, so will that (Rs 500) be enough for all?
Lokendra Kumar: Yes.
Reporter: If there's a problem, you can handle it?
Lokendra Kumar: If you are caught, we manage the vigilance officers. We know them.
Shambhu Singh and Lokendra confirmed that they warned illegal touts about police raids allowing them to get away. Aslam Khan, another constable near New Delhi Station, added that cops on duty near the reservation counters played a key role and also had to be paid off.
Aslam Khan: You should meet those who police the counters.
Reporter: I didnt know. How much do I pay so that I am not picked by the police?
Aslam Khan: For that, meet the constables who man the counters.
Reporter: I don't know them.
Aslam Khan: There is Bharat Singh, Kuldeep, Sanjay... they police the counters.
Constables Sanjay and Kuldeep even showed our undercover reporter the safe areas at the station for illegal touts to operate.
Kuldeep: How can I help? The local travel agents issue tickets in advance, then send their men to the station to catch passengers who need tickets.