Indian Railways detects attempts to book VIP tickets using fake letters

Indian Railways booking clerks have been asked to double check all suspicious requests for VIP quota tickets after incidents of forged letters of ‘dignitaries’ have come to light.

“Some instances of attempts to get accommodation released out of Emergency Quota on the authority of fake letter heads of high dignitaries and some Railway Officers have come to notice,” Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday, adding that recently a similar incident was reported from Wadala Road railway station in Mumbai.

The Indian Railways keeps a substantial number of tickets in each train under an ’emergency quota’.

Even though it’s called an emergency quota, it is essentially a VIP quota, and tickets from this pool are given on the basis of requests by central government ministers, judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, members of parliament and so on. These VIPs are called ‘high official requisition’ holders in railway terminology.

The quota can be used by these officials not only for their own travel, but can also be used for others’, such as their assistants, relatives, friends etc..

“At the time of allotment of berths/seats, Emergency Quota is first allotted for self travel of HOR holders/Members of Parliament, etc., strictly as per their inter-se seniority in warrant of precedence.

“Thereafter, other requisitions received from various quarters are considered and the remaining quota is released taking into account various factors like official status of passengers travelling, nature of urgency like travelling on government duty, bereavement in the family, sickness, job interview, etc,” Goyal said.

When there are no more requests from these officials, these tickets are given to ordinary RAC and wait-listed passengers, he added.

The tickets are issued under these VIP’s quotas based on a request submitted on their official letter-head.

However, Goyal pointed out that there have been attempts to forge such letters. This, he said, has forced the Railways to double check such requests in some cases.

“With a view to prevent malpractices, reservation requests received from various quarters for release of accommodation out of Emergency Quota are checked from time to time and in case where there is a doubt about the genuineness of the request/letter, the position is checked up by speaking to the concerned person on phone.”

“When it is confirmed that these are fake, no accommodation is released on such requests,” he added.