The Bengaluru police will soon issue a notice to Rapido, an app-based bike taxi service provider, after investigators found serious lapses in employing riders with criminal history. The move came after a 23-year-old woman from Kerala was allegedly gang-raped by two men, including a Rapido driver, on November 25. The gang rape incident came to light Tuesday.
The police Tuesday said three persons, including a woman, were arrested in the case. They added that the prime accused was earlier this year arrested over a tiff with someone over water supply. He was then booked under Sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt with dangerous weapons), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, some time back, he came out on bail.
A police officer said, “He has been working with Rapido since 2019 and was arrested this year by Bengaluru rural district police. It is compulsory for companies to get a No Objection Certificate in such cases but Rapido blatantly ignored the norm. We are issuing a notice to Rapido.”
According to police sources, the second accused was a part of a gang, members of which were earlier arrested by the police while they were preparing to commit a dacoity.
According to the investigating officers, the prime accused is involved in other similar cases too and the police have sought data of the trips that he carried out in the last one year. Incidentally, Bengaluru city police commissioner C H Pratap Reddy had recently held a meeting with representatives of Rapido over several complaints from the public.
When The Indian Express reached out to Rapido, they were unavailable for a comment.
A police officer on condition of anonymity said the collection of NOCs are outsourced to agencies and many riders provide fake documents when they join. “It has become a scam in itself which is fed to the corporate sector to address the rising demand,” the officer said.
South-East Deputy Commissioner C K Baba told The Indian Express that they are probing the case from multiple angles and are working towards filing the chargesheet. “Besides the crime, there are multiple safety aspects that need to be addressed. We are looking into all aspects to make the city a better place to live,” he said.
“I also appeal to the citizens to be careful while traveling, especially during the night hours. They should inform friends and family members who can track their journey,” he added.
Recently, the Karnataka High Court had directed the state not to take any coercive action against Rapido and other app-based aggregators over operating auto-rickshaws, bikes and other vehicles. Transport department commissioner S N Siddaramappa Wednesday said, “Presently, there is no sanctity for Rapido but there is a stay order from the court which prevents us from taking action. We have already approached the Karnataka High Court to lift the stay order.”