Uber was banned in Delhi yesterday and government mulled similar action across the country as outrage grew over the alleged rape of a 27-year-old woman executive by its cab driver.
Uber cabs driver Shiv Kumar Yadav, who was arrested Sunday evening from Mathura for raping a 27-year-old executive in Delhi, is a repeat offender- Uber claims that it offers the ‘safest rides on the road’.
Revealed during the initial interrogation by the police, this fact highlights the carelessness on the part of Uber cab service. The accused would not have been behind the wheel of the Uber cab had the US-based company run a background check and got police verification done.
On Friday night, the 27-year-old woman who works for a finance company in Gurgaon has gone to a restaurant for dinner with some friends after her shift ended at 7 pm. After dinner, one of her friend gave her a ride till Vasant Kunj. She meanwhile booked the cab from Vasant Kunj to her house in Inderlok on her smartphone. The driver along with Uber Swift Dzire cab arrived around 10.20 pm and she left for home.
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 driver reportedly sexually assaulted her and beat her up. The woman said she tried to fight back, but he overpowered her. He reportedly told her that if she shouted for help, he would insert a rod in her genitals, and reminded her of the December 16 2012 bus gangrape in the city,” reported Indian Express.
In the complaint, the woman said that the driver repeatedly slapped her and punched her when she tried to use her phone to make a call. He also told her that he would drop her home safely only if she wouldn’t report the matter to the police.
The driver reportedly dropped her home, registered the end of the ride on Uber’s software, and gave her a bill. “After she got down from the car, she secretly clicked a photograph of the cab, with the vehicle’s registration number. She went home, but soon left for the Sarai Rohilla police station to file a complaint,” said the police.
This incident was reported around 1.25 am on Saturday. A case was registered at Sarai Rohilla Police Station under Sections 376 (rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
Uber cab in which the crime took place was owned by the driver himself and he was traced through his mobile number and has been handed over to the Delhi police. The Swift Dzire cab in which the crime took place was recovered from the city late Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the US-based cab service provider, which has come under attack for allegedly flouting norms, has issued a statement saying they are providing all help to police in the investigation.
We are deeply disturbed by the reported incident. Our thoughts are with the victim. We are actively and fully cooperating with authorities.
— Uber Delhi (@Uber_Delhi) December 6, 2014
Uber spokesperson, Evelyn Tay, made the following statement on their blog, “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 licensed 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,” added Evelyn Tay.
Police said 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 company also could not immediately provide the call log to police as details were said to be stored at the company’s headquarters in New York.