Mizan syndicate black-marketing train tickets for 20 years: RAB

Mizan Dhali and his gang have been in the illegal sale of train tickets at Kamalapur since 2003, RAB says

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 22 March 2024, 02:05 PM
Updated : 22 March 2024, 02:05 PM

Mizan Dhali, now an office assistant of Shohoz at Kamalapur Railway Station, has remained in the job of selling Bangladesh Railway tickets for two decades despite changes to the system and its operators.

Throughout his time with the system, he had been black-marketing train tickets by forming a syndicate, the Rapid Action Battalion said on Friday after arresting the 48-year-old and eight others in a drive on Thursday to stop illegal sale of train tickets ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Mizan had worked in all organisations that had taken responsibility for the railway’s ticketing system before Shohoz, the company responsible for the state-run transportation agency’s e-ticketing system now.

He had been manipulating the way to remain in his job at Kamalapur and operating a syndicate for ticket scams since 2003, RAB spokesman Commander Khandaker Al Moin said at a media briefing in Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar.

Mizan’s nephew, 30-year-old Sohel Dhali, office assistant of Shohoz at Kamalapur station, Shohoz’s station representative Sabur Hawlader, 40, and Shohoz’s server room operator Newton Biswas have also been arrested by the RAB during the drive.

The five other arrestees are Md Sumon, 39, Jahangir Alam, 49, Shahjalal Hossain, 42, Md Rasel, 24, and Joynal Abedin, 46.

The elite police force also recovered a large number of illegally collected train tickets from the suspects during the arrests.

Shohoz declined to comment immediately, but said it would get back to bdnews24.com later.

HOW TRAIN TICKETS DISAPPEAR

Mizan was never caught because of his identity as a railway official, RAB spokesman Moin said.

“He brought his nephew Sohel Dhali in the business eight years ago. The gang used to sell more than 500 tickets on the black market every day. The black market syndicate had a target to sell around 3,000 train tickets during Eid journeys.”

Mizan started his job as a peon at Daffodil, a former ticket-selling partner of Bangladesh Railway, in 2003.

The railway later signed a contract with CNS BD and then Shohoz. Both appointed Mizan for his experience.

Mizan saved his job every time on the condition that 80 percent of the previous firm's workers would be retained when the ticketing contract was transferred from one company to another.

Since he was in the job for a long time, he had a chance to establish ties with top officials and know the pros and cons of the railway, according to the RAB.

“Based on his relations with top officers, Mizan used to maintain his communication for black marketing with stations across the country. Other officials, including Shohoz’s server room operator Newton, used to assist him by providing information,” Moin said.

“Of the reserved tickets, 2 percent of each train is available on the server 12 hours before the train’s departure. Mizan used to get the news earlier. His nephew Sohel used to collect the tickets online or Shohoz’s office at the railway station or through countermen belonging to the syndicate.

“The tickets were then sold at high prices. Besides this, if any reservation gets cancelled, the gang members were informed from the server room. That's how train tickets used to disappear as soon as they were released,” the RAB spokesman said.

Mizan and other gang members used to collect more tickets during special days like Eid, Puja or weekly holidays, he said.

"The money from the sales is divided into two parts. Half would go to Shohoz officials and station countermen involved in the process. Mizan and Sohel would get the rest.”

The gang members used to receive up to Tk 25,000 each in cash or through mobile banking a month, according to Moin.

The RAB said it found transactions of Tk 9.8 million in their mobile banking accounts in the last six months.