RPF Officials in Southern Railway have arrested the alleged developer of the unauthorized reservation app Super Tatkal and Super Tatkal Pro.
Both apps have also been taken off the Google Play Store. According to Southern Railway, over one lakh users had downloaded the two apps.
The alleged developer, S Yuvarajaa, is a highly qualified engineer who did his BE (Aeronautical) from Anna University and M.Tech (Aerospace) from IIT Kharagpur. He is a resident of Pothiyapalayam in Tiruppur district.
Super Tatkal and Super Tatkal Pro apps were designed to book tatkal tickets in a manner that gave users an unfair advantage over the official IRCTC app and website.
Developer Made 20 Lakh From App between 2016 and 2020
Users of both apps had to purchase prepaid coin packs (10 coins worth Rs.20/-). For each booking, 5 coins were deducted from their coins balance.
According to a statement from Southern Railway, the developer has confessed to making Rs. 20 lakh through the applications between 2016 and 2020. A case has been registered under section 143 (2) of the Railways Act
RPF Cyber Cell at Chennai had played a key role in the analysis of data and identification of the fake App developer’s location and also collected digital evidence.
This is one of many instances where rogue software has been found compromising Indian Railways systems to bypass checks and gain an advantage over users of the official IRCTC mobile app and website.
Flawed Systems, Pricing Strategy and Large Demand-Supply Mismatch
Existence of such software also demonstrates the presence of what may be a flawed and insecure system for booking tickets. A significant mismatch between demand and supply of train berths is also evident, especially during festival seasons.
The out of proportion demand for tickets also suggests that Indian Railways is pricing tickets far lower than the market is willing to pay. This has created space for the illegal operators to charge a premium and take away revenue that would otherwise be earned by IR.