Techie sells train tickets by forging PNR numbers

By Nivedhika Krishnan Published on Jul 23, 2018 01:19 PM IST

Chennai: 'One-eyed man'. This was the only clue that investigation officials of the Railway Protection Force attached to the Crime Intelligence Branch had when authorities of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) approached them with a complaint a fortnight ago.

A rail passenger had originally registered the complaint with IRCTC which was in turn forwarded to the wing.

“The authorities informed us that the passenger raised an issue about mismatch between booked rail tickets via IRCTC portal and the finally prepared chart of the Railways. This has never happened before,” said N Alagarsamy, RPF Inspector.

The complainant said he was waiting to catch a long-distance train to north India on that fateful day. “He came along with his family to the station and their tickets were not confirmed. Making use of their tension, a man approached them and informed that he had booked a ticket a little while ago using the IRCTC app,” narrated Alagarsamy.

Expecting a miracle, the complainant requested the man to book rail tickets for him via the same application. “Happy to 'help', he opened the app on his mobile and started booking online. After a while, he informed the good news of booking confirmed tickets and forwarded all the messages and the mail 'received from IRCTC' stating the same,” he said.

The family realised that they had been deceived and that they had bought fake tickets for a hefty price only after the TTI informed them about it during their journey.

Soon, a message was passed on to security personnel at Chennai Central to be on a look out for the one-eyed man, the reason being that he strains to read through his right eye.

“A constable attached to the team found a man matching the description on the adjoining road of the railway station. He further raised suspicion of the cops during interrogation,” he continued.

When Alagarsamy and his team interrogated the youth, who was in his early twenties, they realised that they had found the main culprit.

The accused was later identified as Sunil Barman, 23, a native of West Bengal.

He faces similar charges in Bengaluru and Chennai. Sunil has a bachelor's degree in history and possesses sound technical knowledge in Information and Communication Technology.

“We found a bunch of rail tickets with him. The tickets were found forged using PNR numbers. He forged details of confirmed tickets and sold them at an exorbitant price. If the original price is Rs 800, he would charge the passengers Rs 1,200, including GST,” Alagarsamy informed.

Although Sunil has cheated many rail passengers, only two complaints have been registered with the police so far. “We expected many to come forward and lodge a complaint. But what happened was the opposite,” said a surprised Alagarsamy.

“The victims would have realised about the forged tickets during their journey, and many would have paid fines to the TTI by then or purchased open tickets for the rest of their journey. They would have cared less to lodge a complaint after reaching their destinations,” the Inspector added.