Tatkal Ticket Scam Uncovered, CBI Official Arrested

Ajay Garg, an assistant programmer at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has been arrested by his own agency for developing a software that exploits the vulnerabilities of the IRCTC railway ticketing system to book over 1000 Tatkal tickets at a time.

Ajay joined CBI in 2012 and had been working with IRCTC previously for five years (2007-2011).

Rather than reporting the vulnerabilities found by him, Garg instead used them for his own gain and amassed a huge wealth by making his software available to travel agents through his accomplice Anil Gupta, who can then easily book Tatkal tickets for clients for a fee using the software.

As seats are limited, by the time the users fill in their details, the Tatkal quota is already booked. So the users turn to travel agents who can book these tickets using the software. These tickets are genuine and the payments of the tickets go to the railways, according to officials.

However, in addition to the cost of the software, there is a charge on every ticket booked using the software, which is paid to Garg using a complex system of Indian and foreign servers, online masking, and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

“Use of such software is illegal as per rules and regulations of IRCTC and also under the Railways Act,” Abhishek Dayal, CBI spokesperson, said.

Garg and Gupta, along with 13 others including Garg’s family members and travel agents, have been arrested.

According to Dayal, the CBI has carried out searches at 14 locations in Delhi, Mumbai, and Jaunpur during which it recovered Rs 89.42 lakh in cash, gold jewellery valued at Rs 61.29 lakh, 15 laptops, 15 hard disks, 52 mobile phones, 24 SIM cards, 10 notebooks, 6 routers, 4 dongles, and 19 pen drives.

Both Garg and Gupta have been sent to a five-day CBI custody by a court.

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