An assistant programmer of the CBI, who was arrested for allegedly selling an illicit software to penetrate ‘tatkal’ railway ticket reservation, has been booked in a fresh case for amassing assets to the tune of Rs 96.09 lakh which were disproportionate to his legitimate sources of income, officials said today. Ajay Garg, who was posted as assistant programmer in the CBI headquarters before his arrest in December last year for allegedly coding and selling the illegal railway ticket booking software, had amassed assets to the tune of Rs 1.46 crore during a six-year tenure between 2011 to 2017 in the agency, they claimed. Garg had earlier worked with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) for four years between 2007-11 where he learnt the vulnerabilities of the railway ticketing system, sources said. During the probe it emerged that the legitimate income earned by him during the period was Rs 79.29 lakh whereas expenses were in the range of Rs 29.59 lakh.
The agency has alleged that going by the known sources of his income, assets to the tune of Rs 96.90 lakh could not be explained and were 122 per cent over and above legitimate income, they said. The agency has registered the case under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, they said. He was arrested in December, 2017 along with close aide Anil Gupta. A postgraduate in computer applications, Garg allegedly sold the software through Gupta.
The ticket bookings under Tatkal quota open at 10 am for AC class and 11 AM for non-AC coaches for the trains departing next day. Under the quota, a fixed number of seats, in each coach, are sold at a premium by the railways to travellers who need tickets urgently. A common complaint of passengers is that, seats under Tatkal quota are taken within minutes of start of the booking on the IRCTC website. Their bookings are either rejected or they get a wait-listed ticket that too at a very steep prices. Garg, who joined the CBI in 2011, exploited the vulnerabilities to develop the illegal software, which allowed agents to book hundreds of tickets in one go, leaving genuine passengers in the lurch, they said
Through the software, Garg was allegedly able to keep a statement of tickets booked by the agents and charged them on every ticket, in addition to the cost of the software. It is alleged that the software enables the user to save all required details to book Tatkal tickets before hand in the software which are automatically filled-in the IRCTC portal as soon as Tatkal booking starts and PNR is generated very fast.
The software provides proxy IP addresses, bypassing IRCTC captcha, bypassing bank OTP, form autofill, login with multiple IDs with several pairs with the help of US-based server, allowing the users to fraudulently gain unauthorised access to computer network in contravention of rules and regulations, the CBI alleged. The software once installed on the agents computers needed a user name and password which Garg allegedly changed from time to time to ensure recurring payments, they said.
Garg used a complex chain of Indian and foreign servers, online masking and cryptocurrency to facilitate his operations, the officials said, adding that his luck ran out after the agency received source information about his operations.