A day after he allegedly beat up and raped a 27-year-old woman who had hired his vehicle, police Sunday evening arrested Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav from a remote village in Mathura.
Earlier in the day, police issued a notice to the managing director of Uber services under Section 161 of the CrPC to join the investigation and explain the security lapses. The company will be held liable for negligence, officials said.
Confirming Yadav’s arrest, Deputy Commissioner of Police, North Delhi, Madhur Verma said, “He had locked himself up in a small room in Anand Van, a village in Mathura 2 km from Chanderpuri Mohalla, his residence. More than 12 teams had been working to apprehend him for the past 24 hours and one of the teams finally traced Yadav with the help of local intelligence on Sunday evening. He will be brought to Delhi and produced in court.”
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According to sources, soon after allegedly raping the woman and dropping her home in North Delhi, Yadav had fled to Chanderpuri Mohalla. After the news about the rape broke, the 32-year-old reportedly told his wife they would have to leave Mathura.
The 27-year-old alleged victim, who works in a finance company in Gurgaon, had approached the police early Saturday morning.
“We raided his house where he stayed with his wife and two daughters and a son, but he had fled by then. His family was questioned about his whereabouts but they did not reveal anything. We were then told he was hiding in a gurdwara in the village. Several places were raided, several leads were collected but we could not reach him,” police said.
It was only Sunday evening, after police had announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for anyone giving any information on Yadav’s whereabouts, that a person approached them with a tip-off, said ACP, Kotwali, Devesh Kumar and ACP, Operations, Subhash Tandon.
“The informer told us that Yadav was hiding in Anand Van. A team immediately left for the location. Yadav saw us and started running. He entered a house and locked it from inside, and started throwing things around to stop us. Police however broke open the door and apprehended him around 7 pm,” a source said.
After apprehending the driver, the team took his photograph and sent it to senior officers so that they could match it with the photograph of Yadav they had.
No verification, no GPS: Police
According to Madhur Verma, DCP (North), the driver and the vehicle involved in the incident were part of Uber’s newly-launched low-cost cab-booking service. Police have listed some norms and guidelines that may have been flouted:
# The driver did not undergo the mandatory police verification, and a background check was not conducted by the company.
# He did not have a driving licence issued by the Delhi Transport Authority, which is recommended for those engaged in driving cabs in the capital.
# Instead of a mandatory GPS system, the only link with the driver was an application that he had downloaded on the phone he was using.
“Every violation by Uber will be evaluated and we will go for legal recourse,” said DCP (North) Verma, saying police would take legal advice before opting to press a criminal or civil case.
Uber has faced critical news coverage over its driver screening in the United States, and has apologised for comments by an executive who suggested “digging up dirt” on journalists investigating the firm.
That has not stopped the San Francisco-based firm from raising investment that values it at $40 billion, reflecting the perceived potential of its expansion into high-growth markets like India.
Uber said in a statement on Sunday that it had suspended the driver following the allegations, in line with company policy, and have provided the authorities with “all relevant details,” such as driver, vehicle and trip information.
“Safety is Uber’s highest priority and in India, we work with licenced 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,” said Evelyn Tay, an Uber spokeswoman.
(With inputs from Agencies)