To enable bus customers to book their tickets at their localities only, APSRTC has appointed Authorized Ticket Booking Agents all over Andhra Pradesh for booking APSRTC tickets. The Agents are connected to the central ticketing server for real-time booking.
An online account is created for each agent, and the agents should deposit money in the same. As and when the tickets are booked through the respective agents account, the balance is debited. This is to ensure that APSRTC need not chase the agents for the tickets amount.
At present, the agents have to remit the money manually at the deposits to the depot clerk’s who receives the amount and credits the respective agents account.
Some wise men, decided to exploit the flaws in the system. They got the topup done by manipulating the Depot Clerks ID, without physically depositing cash.
Once the balance was increased, the agents booked tickets and then cancelled them. On cancellation, the amount was re-credited to the account, which means they effectively could embezzle the amount.
As of date, Rs5.47 lacs have been embezzled by this way. The fallout has been that the two APSRTC officials (Depot systems manager and a depot clerk) have been suspended.
The activity was going for the last 3months, but was noticed only recently. RTC and police officials suspect that the fraud was perpetrated by some authorised agents of the RTC, with the help of employees. The fraudulent transactions were noticed by RTC officials last week and a case was registered under section 66 of the IT Act and 420 IPC by the cyber crime sleuths at the central crime (CCS). The complaint was lodged by one Chander Rao, a traffic manager, at Mahatma Gandhi bus station (MGBS), Afzalgunj.
According to Rao’s complaint, some people, reportedly authorised agents of the corporation, managed to get the passwords of the account from which money is credited to their bank accounts. RTC agents cannot book tickets unless they have credit in their accounts, and to get money in the accounts, they have to first pay RTC and get money credited.
“Once they have the credit, they can then sell tickets to customers. In the same way, if a customer cancels his ticket, the agent repays him and then we will refund the agent. In this case, the thieves pilfered credit money in their accounts and then made fake transactions; they sold tickets, cancelled them, and then transferred the money back to their accounts,” explained the investigating officer. The fake transactions began in March this year, he said.
RTC official GV Ramana Rao said all the internet protocol (IP) addresses of the corporation were blocked immediately after the matter came to light. “We also blocked the accounts as well to avoid further problems. And more over, from this year on, we are going to implement a strict Net banking system for all transactions from June, and such instances won’t be repeated,” he stated.
Net Banking that the agents’ accounts can be topped up only via Net Banking and no cash deposits will be allowed. One more victory for eBanking.