The police have written to 28 private taxi companies in the city asking them to submit details about the drivers they have employed.
The companies include Cool Cab, Ola, Meru and Tab Cab. The police will use this information to do a thorough character verification of the drivers.
This is an initiative the Mumbai police have undertaken in the wake of the case in Delhi, in which a 25-year old financial analyst was allegedly raped by an Uber cab driver.
Dhananjay Kulkarni, Mumbai police spokesperson, said the letters have already been sent to these companies and they have been asked to send the information as early as possible.
He added the three regional transport office (RTO) have already sent the details of 2,46,119 permits and badges of taxi drivers who drive the black-and-yellow taxis in the city. “We will check these details with our online criminal database,” he added.
Commissioner of police (Mumbai) Rakesh Maria asked police officers to complete the verification by December 31 and asked the DCPs concerned to supervise the progress on a daily basis.
Sources in the Mumbai police said 93 police stations, along with the traffic department are involved in the operation. If need be, the special branch (SB) of the Mumbai police will also be asked to verify the drivers.
If a driver is found to have a past criminal record, then the police may take preventive action against him. This may include taking a written undertaking from him. If the charges are serious then the driver may even be externed or the police may ask the RTO to cancel his licence, sources said.
Sources in the police said if private taxi companies and drivers have to be regulated, the RTO needs to step up because the police have limited powers in terms of checking permits and badges.