The CBI busted a railway ticketing racket on Wednesday by arresting one of its own programmers. The scam impacted lakhs of citizens across the country as many failed to get confirmed tickets, especially tatkal ones, because of it. It also exposes the vulnerability of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) software.Ajay Garg, an assistant programmer with the CBI since 2012, was arrested from Delhi. His associate Anil Kumar Gupta was nabbed from Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur and is being brought to Delhi on transit remand.The agency has registered a case of criminal conspiracy under Sections of the Information Technology Act for making an illegal railway ticketing software. The accused had developed a tatkal (ticketing at short notice) software with distributor Gupta. They sold the software to tour and travel operators across the country.Travel operators using this software booked tickets in advance and created a shortage.Garg received payments through Bitcoin and hawala routes. Before joining the CBI, he worked as a programmer with the IRCTC from 2007 to 2011, and knew the vulnerabilities of the ticketing software of the Railways. Garg knew that the software used by the Railways allowed him to book hundreds of tickets in the morning. He used 800 to 1,000 customer IDs at one go.The CBI has also identified 10 travel agents who were using this software. They include three of Mumbai and seven of Jaunpur.Garg was using proxy and foreign servers to remove any trail.It was also alleged that Garg was collecting money for the use of the software by certain booking agents and had amassed huge wealth. It was also revealed that Gupta on behalf of Garg was allegedly receiving money from dealers for the use of the software through Bitcoin and hawala networks.Searches were conducted at 14 places, including Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur, which resulted in recoveries of Rs 89.42 lakh, 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, 19 pen drives and other incriminating material from the premises of the accused and others.
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