Taxi aggregator Uber is in the firing line over passenger safety again after a 21-year-old Delhi woman alleged she was molested by a driver in one of its cabs near Gurgaon on Saturday morning.
The allegation came just six months after a 25-year-old financial analyst was allegedly raped on-board an Uber cab in Delhi, over which the victim took the cab aggregator's parent company to court in the US.
Narrating Saturday's incident over phone to HT, the victim said the driver molested her when she took a cab on way to a friend’s place after her dance classes in Tagore Garden. “When we reached the left turn to enter Gurgaon, I had a bad feeling and asked him to stop the car so that I could sit in the front passenger seat,” she said.
“On reaching the destination, he handed my bags to me and took my hand for a handshake. He kissed my hand and pulled me towards himself. I pulled my hand back and ran out,” she said. An FIR was registered with the Gurgaon police on Monday evening.
In a widely shared Facebook post on Sunday, the victim’s brother said a complaint against the driver only managed to elicit an automated response from the company.
Parts of the post read: “My sister availed your cab service last night for Gurgaon and your driver Vinod tried to kiss her forcibly and even after registering a complaint there has been no action. You still don't have any mechanism in place.”
Uber molestation victim:'The driver spoke about respecting women before he forcibly kissed me'
Later on Monday, Uber issued a statement. “Our team reached out to the rider via phone within a few minutes of receiving the feedback. Multiple members of the Uber team have spoken with the driver. Uber has a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour and action has already been taken with the driver partner being deactivated while the matter is being thoroughly investigated,” said Gagan Bhatia, Uber general manager, Delhi.
Gurgaon police said an FIR was registered after an email complaint and company officials had provided the relevant information, including the driver's identity.
Online taxi aggregators continue to operate in a legal grey area, with their operations suspended in many parts of the world pending the legislation of specific regulations to govern them.
Uber, valued at over $40 billion, is one of Silicon Valley's successful start-ups but has lately been blighted by several public relations disasters, most notably the December rape case involving the young financial analyst fighting it out with the company and the accused driver in US and Indian courts.