The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday night conducted simultaneous checks in seven trains across Southern Railway and reportedly unearthed irregularities in the allotment of Emergency Quota (EQ).

Poor quality of bedrolls and inadequate maintenance of coaches were noticed in almost all the trains, sources in the agency said. Special teams boarded the Chennai-Tiruvananthapuram Mail, Chennai –Coimbatore Cheran Express, Chennai-Madurai Pandian Express, Chennai-Tiruchi /Kumbakonam Rockfort Express, Bangalore Mail, Chennai-Tirunelveli Nellai Express and Chennai-Erode Yercaud Express trains departing from Chennai Egmore and Chennai Central.

During the surprise check, the CBI officials noticed that berths under the EQ were allotted to passengers who bought tickets through travel agents or touts. A passenger travelling in a Three-Tier AC coach of Nellai Express gave a statement that he got a berth allotted under EQ with the help of a travel agent. Similar allotments were made in other trains as well.

In almost all the trains, passengers told the investigating officials that the quality of bedrolls was bad. “It came to light that blankets and bed sheets were not washed. In many instances, pieces of waste cloth were stuffed in covers and supplied as pillows to passengers. Hand towels were given only to passengers in First Class AC,” a CBI official said.

In Nellai Express, about 40 bedrolls were supplied to passengers in Sleeper Class coaches, but no receipts were issued for the payments. “The maintenance of coaches in all the trains in terms of pest control and cleaning of toilets was not as per the prescribed standards. Passengers complained of insects in the compartments,” the official said.

In the Rockfort Express, two senior railway officials were found travelling without valid travel documents. They were neither having a privilege pass nor metal pass.

“We have called for EQ allotment details from the railways. Shortcomings noticed in the surprise check will be communicated to the Railway Board for appropriate action. Action will be taken on specific violations,” the official added.

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