The crackdown against rail ticket touts by the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Western Railway, has led to more arrests till this July than the number they apprehended in full last year.
The RPF had arrested 301 rail ticket touts, operating mostly from western suburbs, and seized 4,889 tickets worth
Rs1.10 crore between January and July this year. Officials said that the touting activities had gone up owing to the demand for reserved train tickets.
In 2015, the number of arrests stood at 268 as 3,771e-tickets worth Rs1.34 crore were seized.
“These touts operate mostly via word of mouth and they use software to book tickets in bulk. They don’t need advertisements since they are known to provide confirmed tickets at short notice,” said a RPF officer.
The RPF recently busted a racket in Charkop area and arrested Umesh Nanchanda Shah, 54 and Pawan Rashmikant Shah, 28. The police seized 283 tickets worth Rs10.89 lakh, which they had booked for a community for a Bihar pilgrimage in Vaishali scheduled in the last quarter of this year.
The officials had seized a commonly available software ‘Engage’ that the gang used to book bulk tickets.
“Auto-fill softwares are easily available in the market, which is used to counter railways web booking, to book bulk tickets,” added the RPF officer.
Tickets for popular tourist destinations — such as Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Mumbai — are high in demand among touts, officials said.
“We have formed several teams to have sustained crackdown on touts. Continuous action is needed to counter their activities,” said Anand Vijay Jha, senior divisional security commissioner RPF, WR.