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IRCTC Scam: The Man Who Booked 1,000 Tickets at One Go 

Garg allegedly expanded his year-old illicit network by distributing the software to agents at exorbitant rates. 

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In a shocking case of cybercrime, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested its assistant programmer, Ajay Garg, along with a distributor for the unlawful development and sale of illicit software based on the IRCTC’s railway booking system on Wednesday, 27 December.

While booking tatkal railway tickets in high traffic routes, passengers often struggle to book tickets through the IRCTC website. But travel operators often come to their rescue through such fraudulent means.

In this case, Garg and his accomplice operated an illegal ticketing system through a fake software named Neo which allowed them to book 800-1,000 tickets in one go, India Today reported. The accused who are in police custody till 5 January were produced before the court on Wednesday.

How Did it Happen?

According to the CBI, Ajay Garg had worked at the Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) between 2007 and 2011.

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During his five-year tenure, he became well-versed with the functioning and shortcomings of the IRCTC rail booking system. Garg put his ‘expertise’ to good use and developed the fake software along with his partner in crime Anil Kumar Gupta.

Passengers would reach out to travel agents after failing to secure berths for tatkal tickets. The agents were paid a premium amount by the passengers for the completion of their ticketing process. The agents then used to reach out to Garg and his men who were then tasked with the booking of berths through the fake website, India Today reported.

As part of their modus operandi, passengers were asked to pay commission for the bracket ranging from 50-5,000 rupees to receive confirmation for their tickets, the report added.
In addition, Garg allegedly expanded his year-old illicit network by distributing the software to travel operators and railway ticket booking agents at exorbitant rates.

According to the CBI’s official statement, a case was registered against the accused on charges of criminal conspiracy, computer related offences for unauthorised access and damage to computer/computer system, unauthorised carrying on of business of procuring & supplying of railway tickets and criminal misconduct.

Revelations After CBI Crackdown

Raids in 14 places including Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur have led to the recovery of almost Rs 89.42 lakh in cash, gold jewellery estimated at Rs 61.29 lakh including two gold bars weighing 1kg each, 15 laptops among other equipment, as mentioned in the CBI’s official statement.

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The distribution of the software to dealers helped the accused amass huge amounts of money, said CBI. The CBI findings further revealed that to avoid public glare, money earned by the accused was routed through Bitcoins and hawala network.

(With inputs from India Today)

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