A day after reports about a scam in the online ticketing system of the APSRTC appeared in the media, 11 authorised ticket booking (ATB) agents in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts were questioned by the Central Crime Station (CCS) police.
The Vizianagaram police took into custody Sitaram, an ATB agent at Cheepurupalle, on Wednesday. During questioning, he insisted that he had only booked tickets and had nothing to do with their cancellation at different locations across the State and allegations that he had pocketed the money.
APSRTC Executive Director G.V. Ramana Rao said the police were investigating what was clearly a ‘cyber crime’ the scale of which was limited to Rs. 5.02 lakh. He refuted reports that the ‘scam’ could run into crores. “It was our IT cell that detected on May 21 that tickets were being booked by someone using an agent’s user name and password and cancelled at a later date,” he said.
He said initial investigation had pointed a finger at the Cheepurupalle ATB and on May 22, a complaint was lodged with the Vizianagaram police. Meanwhile, the Ranga Reddy region of APSRTC also lodged a complaint with the CCS here. “Investigation into the cyber crime was already on since then,” Mr. Rao said.
Meanwhile, Sudhakar Reddy Chirra, Managing Director of abhibus.com whose software powers the online transactions of APSRTC, clarified that they only provided the technology.
OTP done away with
“We received a communication from the APSRTC to do away with the system of using one-time passwords (OTP) by those manning the booking counters. We complied with the request, while reiterating use of OTPs was imperative for safety,” Mr. Reddy added.
When contacted, CCS Inspector M. Ravinder Reddy said they were zeroing in on the culprits based on the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the devices (desktops, laptops and smart mobile phones) that were used for online cancellations of the tickets. “We are confident of cracking the crime very soon,” he said.
CCS police quiz authorised ticket booking agents in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy districts