The Railways in a statement on Friday said a total of 718 touts and 176 IRCTC authorised agents were arrested after they were found to be allegedly involved in illegal ticketing since May 1. This is the period when the Railways resumed limited train services in light of the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 4,500 IRCTC user ids have been revealed to be blocked over touting activities. 

The statement released by the Railways is as follows: "The RPF (Railway Protection Force) anticipated issues of touting and acted proactively in curbing the menace of touting, conducting massive and sustained drives against them. 718 touts indulging in touting activities were arrested. 176 IRCTC authorised agents have also been arrested for their involvement in cornering tickets with illegal means,".

The RPF during their raids went on to seize tickets estimated to be worth Rs 68 lakh and processed for blocking. It has been revealed that these tickets were for journeys that were yet to commence. Furthermore, the RPF has blocked 4,435 personal user ids and 176 IRCTC agent ids, all of which were being used for touting activities. The Railways stated these ids have since been processed for deactivation.

A total of 717 cases under various relevant sections of the Railways Act 1989 have been registered by the RPF. Railways, in their statement, advised all zones to move forward in their efforts to put a stop to touting and ensure availability of reserved tickets for common passengers.

The Centre had ordered the suspension of passenger train services across the country on March 25 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On May 1, the Railways began Shramik Special trains, after which a few air-conditioned passenger train services started operations once again from May 12. Additional trains resumed functioning from June 1.