When railway ticket is required at a short notice, IRCTC often leaves one disappointed. For the reason that some hackers are always at work to exploit loopholes in the system of the Indian Railway’s subsidiary and book tickets in bulk.
One such gang, which apart from making fraudulent bookings in bulk, coded software to generate multiple PNR numbers was busted by special task force of UP police. On noticing that tatkal tickets were being usurped in large numbers in some pockets of the country, IRCTC had lodged an FIR at cyber police station in Lucknow on November 24.
IRCTC group general manager (Internet ticketing services) Sunil Kumar and vigilance officer Rakesh Mishra shared list of unique IDs and email accounts which were being used to execute the fraud.
Probing the leads, STF on Saturday arrested five persons from Gonda city. Among them is class VIII dropout Rameshwar Pandey (27) alias Avinash who is physically challenged. Avinash had worked with Salman and Hamid, the two youths from eastern UP who were arrested by CBI earlier for the same offence.
On accessing Pandey’s laptop, STF sleuths came across some incriminating online tools. “The techie Shamsher Alam who did the programming and set up tools for speedy bookings managed to escape,” said additional superintendent of police Triveni Singh.
With Alam’s help, Pandey ran a WhatsApp groups and other social media accounts to network with similar fraudsters operating out of other states. Though tatkal ticket booking software are being sold openly and illegally on the internet, Shamsher had devised a tool to bypass the turing test (captcha) to hide IP address.
IRCTC allows user to book only two tatkal tickets in a day. But the group of five used to prepare 250 to 300 tickets on a daily basis in return of hefty commission. STF has gathered details of nine bank accounts.