The cabbie, who allegedly raped a 27-year-old woman here on Friday night, has been arrested in Mathura even as questions were raised over security measures provided by Uber, the US-based cab firm which used his taxi service.
Shiv Kumar Yadav, the 32-year-old driver and a native of Mathura who was living in rented premises here, has been arrested, according to DIG (Agra Range) Lakshmi Singh.
Singh said the Uber cab in which the crime took place was owned by him and he was traced through his mobile number and has been handed over to the Delhi police. The car was recovered from the city late last night.
As a massive search operation was on in Mathura and other parts of Uttar Pradesh to nab the accused, Delhi Police had earlier in the day announced a cash reward of Rs one lakh for his arrest.
“The vehicle has been found and is being brought to Delhi and FSL examination by forensic experts will be done here. 12 teams are carrying out the search operation and we are getting full support from local police at Mathura,” said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.
The police have also issued a notice to Uber, the US-based cab service provider, under section 161 CrPC to join investigation in the case.
“We have issued them a notice to join investigation. There are norms to operate such cab service set by the Transport Department and we will see whether they were followed or not,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Madhur Verma.
The shocking incident, which took place days ahead of the second anniversary of the December 16 gangrape, brought back memories of the horrific crime as shock and anger erupted both online and offline.
According to the police, neither the driver was verified nor the cab had a GPS tracker.
The company has issued a statement, saying that it was providing all help to the police in the investigation.
“Our thoughts are with the victim of this terrible crime and we are working with the police as they investigate. We will assist them in any way we can. It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following allegations of a serious incident, which we have done.
“Safety is Uber’s highest priority and in India, we work with licenced driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform,” said Evelyn Tay, an Uber spokeswoman.
The driver did not have a driving licence issued by the Delhi Transport Authority and the only link the service provider had with him was an Smartphone App which he exited after the incident, the police said.
“The accused (Yadav) is being brought to Delhi,” said Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police (North) Madhur Verma.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manzil Saini, he was arrested from near a marriage hall along the Delhi-Agra highway under Mathura’s Sadar police station.
A case has been registered at Sarai Rohilla police station in Delhi under Sections 376 (rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
Yadav, who was driving the Uber cab, allegedly raped the woman around 9:30 PM on Friday when the victim, who works for a finance company in Gurgaon, was headed back home in north Delhi’s Inderlok area.
On the way, the woman dozed off on the back seat of the car only to wake up and find that they had stopped at a secluded spot. She found that the car doors were locked and, when she tried to raise an alarm, the driver thrashed her and then committed rape, the police said.
The accused then dropped her off near her home in Inderlok after threatening to kill her if she spoke about it to anybody, it said.
Quoting the complaint, the police said that the woman had dined with her friends after her shift ended at 7 PM and one of her friends dropped her till Vasant Vihar from where she hired the cab to return home.
Uber, an international cab-booking service, has its headquarters in New York. It also could not immediately provide the call log as details were said to be stored at the company’s headquarters, the police said.
Commenting on the issue, Kunal Lalani, president of Association of Radio Taxis in India, condemned the incident and said that the guilty should be booked immediately.
“The cab company concerned must come forward and extend whole-hearted cooperation to the authorities probing the incident. This one-off incident has prompted all the taxi/cab companies to further tighten their background checks of its own employees/drivers prior to employing them to ensure that such heinous activity does not occur in future,” he said.
“This incident also calls for a stronger government regulation of taxi players which do not essentially operate under the licenced format of taxis and merely function as aggregators. We will take this up with the government,” Lalani said.
According to Police, Yadav originally hails from Elau police station area of Mainpuri district in Uttar Pradesh and was residing in a rented accommodation in Chandrapuri locality in Mathura.
When the police team reached at his residence, he was not present there.
In the evening, the joint team headed by ASP Ajay Pal of Uttar Pradesh Police arrested him from a house in Mathura which was about a kilometre away from his rented accommodation.
The police said identity of the owner of the house from where Yadav was arrested was yet to be ascertained.
During investigation, prime facie it has come to fore that criminal negligence was made out on the part of Uber, the US-based cab firm, as a number of shortcomings was found on their part as neither the driver was verified nor GPS tracking device was installed in the car, police officials said, adding Yadav was working with Uber since last six month.
Senior police officials will decide what action should be taken against the firm for the negligence, they said.
The police team along with Yadav will reach Delhi by midnight and he will be produced before a court here tomorrow.