New Delhi: The charges of cheating and forgery, framed by a Delhi court in a 15-year-old case of getting confirmed a railway ticket on the basis of a forged recommendation letter of a Gujarat MP, has been upheld by a sessions court.
Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar uphled the framing of charges against a travel agent and three passengers who had allegedly got three railway tickets from New Delhi to Baroda booked illegally and then got them confirmed using a forged letter of the then Rajya Sabha MP Raju Bhai Parmar.
Travel agent V S Bhatnagar and the three passengers - Atul Kumar, Bankim Chandu Lal and Rajnikant, all of Ahmedabad, had challenged the December, 2011, magisterial court order on framing of charges for cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
Bhatnagar was also charged under section 143 of Railways Act for unauthorisedly carrying on the business of selling railway tickets.
The case was registered on September 27, 1997 on a complaint by Railway Board squad officials, who during the checking of Jammu-Bombay Superfast Train, had found Kumar, Lal and Rajnikant travelling on berths reserved by Northern Railway headquarters at Baroda House on basis of a purported recommendation by MP Parmar.
As per the prosecution case, they did not only get their tickets booked illegally but also got them confirmed through forgery and cheating.
Prosecution said Bhatnagar`s Vijay Tour & Travels through which the berths were reserved, was not an agency recognised by the Indian Railways.
The court took note of TTE`s statement that the three passengers told him that they got their tickets reserved through Bhatnagar, who charged a sum of Rs 1,080 against the actual fare of Rs 720.
"This excess payment by the passengers and its receipt by the copetitioner Bhatnagar prima facie is a strong piece of evidence of conspiracy among them in securing confirmation of their seats by illegal means," the ASJ noted.
The ASJ also noted that during investigation, the person whose fax machine was used in faxing MP`s recommendations letter, was also examined but police did not take steps for test identification of the person who had faxed the letter.
"At this stage, negligence on the part of the IO in this regard does not come to the aid of the petitioners / passengers. It is for them to explain as to why did they pay Rs 360 in excess to Bhatnagar, their copetitioner, when the actual fare was Rs 720," the ASJ said, directing the accused persons to appear before the magisterial court on August 1.
When contacted, Parmar gave in writing that it was a forged and fabricated letter.