The Indian Railways will deactivate 1,268 user IDs on IRCTC. It has forfeited 1,875 scheduled e-tickets after it conducted raids against e-ticketing fraud in over 100 cities in the country, according to a statement. Railway Police force officials concluded that certain user IDs on the railways’ ticketing platform IRCTC were being used to purchase tickets online illegally.

  • 185 people were likely carrying out online ticket fraud; 40 of them were arrested on Western Railways and Eastern Railway
  • 1,875 scheduled e-tickets worth Rs 35 lakh were forfeited
  • 166 cases under section 143 of the Railways Act were registered for investigation

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Original Story on November 5: The State Crime Branch officials have arrested two people and recovered software which hacks railway software and railway e-tickets in a raid conducted on travel company ‘Odisha Communication’ in Jaleswar, Balasore district, Odisha. The development was reported by Odisha TV.

The e-tickets were reportedly booked illegally using the hack software. The raid was conducted after the police received a tip-off about the hack. Software worth Rs 62 lakh, 12 e-tickets and ash worth Rs 23,000 were recovered from the company premises.

Fraud in online ticket booking is rampant after multiple reports from different parts of the country demonstrated that people are scamming the online system-

  • Last month, a man was booked in Mumbai under Section 143 (unauthorised carrying on of business of procuring and supplying of railway tickets) of the Railways Act for booking over 2000 railway tickets online worth Rs 57.69 lakh.
  • A crime investigation team of the Guwahati Railway station Railway Protection Force (RPF) raided the premises of ‘Prakash Travel Agency’ for selling railway e-tickets. One person was arrested, and 8 railway tickets worth over Rs 6,000 were recovered from him.
  • Earlier in February this year, the Indian Railways told MeitY to block 19 websites over concerns that a software on IRCTC was being misused. The 19 websites included myrailinfo.in, www.tatkalaap.com and www.tatkalsoftservice.com.

In the wake of multiple reported frauds via online ticketing, the Indian Railways is reportedly looking at a possible amendment to the Railways Act, 1989 to include a provision to penalise e-ticketing frauds with a fine of Rs 2,00,000 in addition to the existing 3-year jail term. Online ticket fraud appears to be an old story: back in 2011, IRCTC had blocked 4.4 lakh user IDs and 71, 484 e-mail IDs over a few months, following illegal and unethical practices for e-ticket bookings using those accounts.