CBI programmer dupes tatkal system with software, arrested

He developed an illegal software package that allowed swift and simultaneous booking of hundreds of Tatkal tickets in one go.

 Exploiting vulnerabilities in the IRCTC’s online ticket booking system, an assistant programmer with the CBI allegedly developed an illegal software package that allowed swift and simultaneous booking of hundreds of Tatkal tickets in one go. The software was being used by several ticketing agents, for which the accused received huge payments in Bitcoins and through the “hawala” channel.

Based on a tip-off, the CBI has now arrested the assistant programmer, Ajay Garg, and his accomplice Anil Gupta, who allegedly sold the software to the agents. About a dozen agents in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur and Mumbai, who were using the software, have been identified “The flaws are yet to be fixed by IRCTC,” said a CBI official.

In all, 15 people have been arraigned in the FIR. Among them are Garg’s wife, his parents, his sister and brother-in-law for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy.

The CBI carried out searches at 14 locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur, during which it seized.₹89.42 lakh in cash, gold worth ₹61.29 lakh in the form of two gold bars of one kg each, 15 laptops, 15 hard disks, 52 mobile phones, 24 SIMs, 10 Notebooks, six routers, four dongles, and 19 pen drives.

The CBI probe has revealed that Garg, an MCA from a Haryana University, had worked with IRCTC between 2007 and 2011, during which time he came to know about the flaws in its ticketing system. In 2012, he was inducted into the CBI through the Union Public Service Commission entrance test.

Garg allegedly maintained the softwareusing servers based abroad. The accused regularly issued fake IDs andpasswords to the agents. About 1,000 such IDs were currently in use. The racket was allegedly being run for the past year.

“It was also alleged that the accused collected money via his accomplice Gupta for the use of such software by certain booking agents and had amassed huge wealth. We have got his custody for interrogation. The accomplice was arrested in Jaunpur and he is being brought to Delhi on a transit remand,” said the official.

Gupta allegedly maintained multiple bank accounts for receiving payments from the agents andtransferred funds to Garg in Bitcoins and through the “hawala” channel to evade detection.

The agency has invoked provisions of criminal conspiracy, computer-related offences for unauthorised access and damage to computer system, unauthorised carrying on of business of procurement and supply of railway tickets and criminal misconduct.