A 27-year-old woman was allegedly raped by the driver of the cab she had hired to return home from a dinner party in Gurgaon on Friday night. The incident took place when the woman, who works for a finance company in Gurgaon, was headed back to her home in north Delhi’s Inderlok area. “The woman had gone to a restaurant for dinner with some friends after her shift ended at 7 P.M. One of her friends dropped her till Vasant Vihar from where she hired a cab run by a private company to take her to Inderlok,” police said citing the complaint filed by the victim. 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, police said. Police said dropped the woman home
after attacking her and warned her not to inform the authorities. She managed to note the driver’s number and take a photograph of his car
Search and arrest of the accused
A massive search operation involving 12 Delhi police teams was on in Mathura and other parts of Uttar Pradesh to nab the accused. Delhi Police had also announced a cash reward of Rs one lakh for his arrest. The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was finally was arrested from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday night by a joint team of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police.
He was produced before the Delhi Court on Monday with his face muffled amid tight security. The court sent him to three days police custody for interrogation and recovery of a mobile phone. Police custody was granted after accused Shiv Kumar Yadav refused to undergo ‘Test Identification Parade’.
What we know of the accused
Uber cab driver Shiv Kumar Yadav, is 32-year-old and a native of Mathura who was living in rented premises in Delhi. Yadav, who allegedly raped the woman, is a repeat offender and was also involved in a rape case in 2011 as well for which he spent 7 months in jail.
The credentials of the driver
The driver did not have a driving licence issued by the Delhi Transport Authority. The only link the service provider had with him was the Uber app on the smartphone which he exited after the incident, the police said. According to the police, neither the driver was verified nor the cab had a GPS tracker.
Uber India’s response
In a statement released by the company when the incident came to light, Uber spokeswoman Evelyn Tay said: “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,”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a statement said, “Our entire team’s hearts go out to the victim of this despicable crime. We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery.” He also added, “We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women.”
Action taken against Uber
The Delhi Police will interrogate Uber’s head of India operations on Monday. Meanwhile, according to reports, Uber has shut its office in Gurgaon. Delhi police said they were considering legal action against the taxi service for failing to run background checks on the driver. The company said there were no defined rules in India on background checks for commercial transport licences and it was working with the government to address the issue.
Delhi government’s response
Delhi government banned with immediate effect all operations by cab service Uber in the city following the alleged rape incident. PTI reports that the government is now mulling ban of Uber’s services across the country.
What other cab services saying
Private operators have demanded that such an app-based vehicle service be brought under state control. TabCab claimed their GPS device is hidden and cannot be disconnected and that they also send location updates every 30 seconds. Meru’s verification of its drivers includes biometric record of the driver, besides police verification. However, movement of only those passengers who opt for the ‘Trip Tracker facility’ with Meru is tracked.
Ola’s director of marking and communication Anand Subramanian said, “Even though we are not a transport service provider, we ensure the partner driver using our software passes the stringent compliance check of his (KYC) personal and professional papers. Every ride of ours is tracked. We also have a continuous ride feedback from customers through 24×7 call centres.”