A senior Ticket Collector (TC) of the Central Railway (CR) has been arrested for allegedly misappropriating Rs 33 lakh and splurging it on playing video games, police said on Monday.
Bhupendra Vaidya, who was working as chief of the special squad of TCs, was arrested on August 6 by the CSMT Railway Police on the charges of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust, an official said.
The 49-year-old was suspended late last year after the offence came to light and was subsequently dismissed from service, he said.
A resident of Waghbil in adjoining Thane district, Vaidya used to siphon off money collected by his juniors as fine from ticket-less commuters, he said.
Vaidya and his fellow TCs had powers to get into any train between Thane and Kasara stations on the CR and fine ticket-less passengers, he said.
As per CR rules, after collecting the fine, TCs submit the same at the station master's office and get receipt number against it.
Vaidya used to take fine amount collected by TCs and spent it on playing video games at a parlour in Thane, said API Navnath Rupavate, the investigating officer of the case.
Since 2015, he had allegedly embezzled Rs 33 lakh collected as fine and spent the amount on playing video games, he said.
The misappropriation initially came to light during an audit and also in subsequent examinations of accounts. Vaidya, however, used to escape any scrutiny by bribing his seniors, the official said.
In December 2018, CR officials lodged a complaint of misappropriation against Vaidya and suspended him from the service, he said.
An offence was registered against Vaidya following which police teams visited his residence in Thane to arrest him, but he was not found at home, he said.
He was finally arrested on last Tuesday and produced before a court, which sent to police custody, the official said.
During interrogation, Vaidya admitted that he spent all the embezzled money on playing video games, he said, adding his claim was verified with the owner of the Thane parlour he often frequented.
Vaidya has been dismissed from service and the CR has recovered around Rs 5 lakh from him, the official said, adding further probe was on.
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