RPF busts major railway e-ticketing racket; kingpin traced to Dubai

The cash generated by selling e-tickets were routed to Dubai through Hawala network and used in anti-India activities. 

RPF busts major railway e-ticketing racket; kingpin traced to Dubai

NEW DELHI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has busted a major multi-crore e-ticketing racket and arrested over a dozen people in this connection.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Railway Protection Force (RPF) DG Arun Kumat said, ''We're a step ahead in operation against e-ticketing racket. We've unearthed an organised gang. Its kingpin is probably sitting in Dubai. We're investigating the members of the gang, the manner in which the money is going to banks and some companies.''

According to the RPF Director-General, those arrested in this connection had hacked the railway website and forged its ticket booking software to book e-tickets.

The e-ticketing racket has its roots in Dubai, Pakistan and Bangladesh. One Hamid Ashraf, the alleged kingpin of the e-ticketing racket busted by the RPF, was earlier arrested by the CBI.

Hamid, who is said to be a resident of Basti district in Uttar Pradesh, is currently based in Dubai and believed to be operating the fake e-ticketing racket from there.

The busted racket is suspected to generate revenue of Rs 10-15 crore per month, according to the RPF DG. Hamid, who is also a software developer, is alleged to be involved in the bombing of a Gonda school in 2019, he added.

Gulam Mustafa (26), a madrassa-educated, self-taught software developer from Jharkhand. Mustafa was arrested from Bhubaneswar. 

During his questioning, Mustafa revealed that in 2017, he had created an Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) agent ID to book an e-ticket. 

He later joined hands with the other accused and hacked the railway booking portal and created several fake IDs and started booking e-tickets illegally.

Due to the illegal booking of tickets, the Indian Railways incurred losses running in several crores.

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Mustafa also possessed a Pakistan-based software to hack central government websites, bank accounts etc. He had gained access to several government websites and other banned websites.

Mustafa had created hundreds of IRCTC IDs to book tickets and sell them. 

He has been interrogated by the IB, Special Bureau, ED, NIA and the Karnataka Police is also probing the case, the RPF DG said.

The cash generated by selling e-tickets were routed to Dubai, Pakistan and Bangladesh through the Hawala network and used in anti-India activities. 

During the operation, the RPF also seized software for creating fake Aadhar and pan cards and other government documents.

The efforts are on to nab all the accused, the RPF DG said.