The inadequate number of women ticket-checkers and the general hesitation of male TCs to check women commuters, became the perfect reason for a 22-year-old Kalyan girl to do the needful and make a quick buck in the process.
Nisha Dubey, as per railway officials, was carrying out her con convincingly, until her luck ran out around 3pm on Saturday, when she was checking the tickets of women commuters at the Panvel-end of Turbhe station on the trans-harbour network. A Railway Protection Force (RPF) sub-inspector, KK Ambavat, realised something amiss in the way Dubey was dealing with people.
Ambavat summoned a woman RPF constable, Suhasini Gaikwad, and ticket clerk Savita Kadam. They confronted Dubey after observing her for some time. On being cornered, Dubey told the RPF that she was a resident of Ashok Nagar in Kalyan and had been at this game for some weeks now. Dubey told the RPF that she used to check women commuters and in some cases, extort money from them if they didn't have a valid ticket. RPF personnel also found Rs610 on her when she was nabbed.
However what was worrying, said RPF officials, was that Dubey even had an identity card which she claimed was given to her by the commercial department of Central Railway. Later, Dubey claimed that it belonged to a friend of hers who is a junior booking clerk with CR and also resides close to her house, in Kalyan's Ashok Nagar area.
RPF officers told dna that they will have to find out from the commercial dept whether the ID card she was carrying was a real one. "It would be a very serious issue if it is found out that a clerk actually gave Dubey her ID card to con people this way," said an RPF officer.
According to a senior CR official, the low numbers of women TCs on the suburban network worked to Dubey's advantage. As per records of CR's Mumbai division, out of the 1,020 TCs, just about 60 are women. Back-of-the-envelope calculations show that about 20% of all commuters on both CR and WR are women.
"Moreover, male TCs avoid entering ladies coaches or even confronting women passengers for tickets because the slightest mistake by the ticket-checker, verbal or physical, could end up with the TC facing molestation or sexual harrassment charges," said a male ticket-checker.
Dubey was handed over to Vashi railway police for further action.