Mumbai (The Hindu): A 46-year-old auto driver from Nallasopara was arrested on Thursday for impersonation and fraud. He allegedly posed as a ticket checker and collected fines from ticketless travellers.
Prakash Phadkale, who worked as an autorickshaw driver in Goregaon, wore the uniform used by the ticket checking staff and mostly caught passengers travelling in the handicapped coaches of trains. He used to fine passengers for not carrying valid documents and tickets.
According to Western Railway officials, the Vigilance Department received a tip-off that a suspicious person was checking tickets regularly at stations. A senior railway official said, “He managed to acquire the uniform worn by the ticket checking staff and he mainly targeted handicapped passengers. He demanded documents regarding concession or medical papers proving their disability. He then used to settle the issue by demanding money from the passengers. During peak hours, he checked tickets at railway platforms too.”
The official added that passengers often did not bother to ask for Phadkale’s identity card as it was rush hour. “He took advantage of the fact that the passengers were in a hurry to reach their offices and collected fines from them. He has been fooling passengers for the past one year and we couldn’t catch him.”
On getting a tip off on Phadkale, the Vigilance Department conducted checks at railway stations. An official said, “An officer from the Vigilance Department boarded the handicapped compartment from Nallasopara and kept a close watch on the passengers and railway staff. After sometime, the official noticed a person entering the compartment wearing the uniform of a ticket checker and started fining passengers.”
After receiving a confirmation from other departments, the official detained Phadkale at Malad railway station. When the Railway Protection Force demanded that he produce his identity card, he confessed to the crime. He was arrested and handed over to the Railway Police at Borivali.
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