LAHORE - A 55-year-old Special Ticket Examiner (STE) of the Pakistan Railways died shortly after a scuffle with four college students, who were travelling in a Lahore-bound train sans tickets, railways police officials said on Saturday.

Police investigators believe ticket checker Rana Shabbir suffered cardiac arrest following the clash and expired on way to a hospital. A criminal case has also been registered against the four students, said to be the residents of Nawan Kot village, located some 15 KM from Sheikhupura on the Faisalabad Road.

Lahore Railway Police have also arrested one of the students, named Khurum Shahzad. “His three accomplices are at large and police are conducting raids to nab the criminals,” Muhammad Aslam, a spokesperson for the railways police told TheNation.

Usually, students travel free of cost in the public transport across the Punjab province but they have to purchase tickets for travel in the trains.

Police claimed that the four students of Sheikhupura Commerce College were traveling in Lahore-bound Sargodha Express train without tickets early Saturday. When the ticket checker approached them and asked them to show their tickets, they introduced themselves as “students” and exchanged harsh words with the railway official.

One of the co-passengers told reporters at the Lahore Railway Station that the students ultimately had paid the fine to the ticket checker after the heated arguments.

“When the train arrived at the Lahore Railways Station, the ticket checker called in the police to teach a lesson to the students, who then again assaulted the official,” said Muhammad Khan, who witnessed the brawl. The ticket checker managed to capture a 24-year-old youth and took him to the railways police station but the three others fled from the scene during the clash.

A duty officer at the railways police station said that when STE Rana Shabbir reached the police station, all of a sudden he felt severe pain in the chest and fell unconscious instantly. He was rushed to the Mayo Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead. The body was later shifted to the morgue for autopsy. Hospital officials say they believe the man suffered cardiac arrest which led to his death.

Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique took serious notice of the incident and ordered the authorities to launch proper inquiry to probe into the incident. The minister has also directed the senior railways police officers to ensure immediate arrest of the students.