IN A development that raises questions on the screening process followed by cab aggregators before hiring drivers, a man arrested earlier this month in a case of firing in Vile Parle turned out to be a driver with app-based taxi service Ola. Further, the police found that the accused Mrityunjay Das, in spite of having a crime record including charges of robbery, had managed to gain employment. The crime branch has decided to write to all cab aggregators to ensure they have proper checks in place to avoid security issues.
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The crime branch had arrested three persons for firing at a Vile Parle seafood restaurant chain. The police found that the person responsible was a fugitive gangster and identified the person who fired a round as Mrityunjay Das. After searching for him, the police found he was employed as a cab driver and arrested him. The police found that he had two cases against him for carrying firearms in Mumbai and Kerala and another case of robbery against him.
An officer said, “It was surprising he found employment since he had a past crime record. The aggregators are supposed to be checking the antecedents of cab drivers before giving them jobs. They should also be seeking a no-objection certificate from the local police thereby ensuring the person has no past record. The aggregators should also be careful about ensuring that original documents are submitted by the applicants. There have been cases in the past where those with criminal records used forged documents to seek employment.”
He added, “Even if someone has served a sentence and is seeking employment, at least the aggregator should know the background. There are times when people take these cabs late in the night and are vulnerable to attack if caught unawares.”
A query by The Indian Express regarding the security process followed by Ola cabs before screening a driver went unanswered.
A spokesperson for cab aggregator service Uber said, “All drivers undergo a screening process which includes a background check. It is a part of our safety approach. However, our approach to safety does not begin and end with a background check. Our technology makes it possible to focus on the safety of riders and drivers before, during, and after every trip.”