Uber banned in Delhi, accused rapist sent to police custody

The accused.
The accused.

New Delhi (IANS): Three days after one of its drivers raped a woman commuter, “all activities” of global cab company Uber were banned in Delhi Monday and the accused was sent to three days in policy custody to verify his past crimes.

As street protests erupted in the city demanding action against the company that operates in 200 cities globally, Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised to bring the accused to justice.

“The government strongly condemns this dastardly act. It will be ensured that all necessary steps are taken to bring the offender to justice,” the minister told the Lok Sabha.

His statement came after activists of the Aam Admi Party and Congress protested outside his residence, igniting memories of the rage that gripped Delhi following the grisly rape-cum-death of a young woman in December 2012. Around 100 AAP activists were detained.

Sensing the mounting anger, the Delhi government banned “all activities” by Uber company in the national capital. It also blacklisted the firm from providing transport services in Delhi in future.

The drastic action followed the arrest Sunday of the taxi driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. He allegedly raped a 25-year-old woman executive here Friday night — and escaped.

The Delhi government said that in response to “the unfortunate and heinous crime”, it had cancelled the taxi’s permit and registration certificate as well as the driver’s license.

It accused Uber of misleading the rape victim about the nature of the taxi service offered by “Uber App”.

Uber was faulted for violating the Motor Vehicles Act by providing a taxi with an all-India permit for a local journey.

“Keeping in view the above violation and the horrific crime committed by the driver, the transport department has banned all activities related to providing any transport service by Uber,” an official statement said.

Yadav, brought to Delhi Sunday night, was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Ambika Singh who sent him to three days police custody. The cab driver refused to undergo an identification parade.

Police described Yadav as a “serial offender” and said they were trying to ascertain his role in other crimes.

“Yadav was arrested in 2011 in a rape case and served seven months in Tihar Jail. We are trying to find out his involvement in similar cases,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhur Verma told IANS.

Police said Yadav got a fake character certificate from a senior police officer to get a job with Uber.

“The character certificate recovered from the accused was fake,” Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said. “We will find out how he managed to get it… We are also probing the functioning of Uber.”

Additional Deputy Commissioner Brijender Singh told IANS that Uber company has its head office in Mumbai.

“Apart from Mumbai, Uber has over 13 offices across India. The cab service provider company has its offices in all metro cities,” Singh said.

The official said they gained information about Uber from its Delhi and NCR head Gagan Bhatia.

Condemning the rape, several political leaders criticised the government and demanded tough action against the cab service provider.

“I have heard that the driver was appointed without any verification by the company. The government must take strict action against the company,” BSP chief Mayawati said.

AAP leader Manish Sisodia accused the government of inaction.

Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said companies needed to take care of women workers instead of blaming the government all the time.

“Every company which employs women should look after them.” She said the proposal to start a women’s taxi service was being looked into.