A driver with cab aggregator Ola has been accused of misbehaving and physically assaulting a woman passenger in Kochi on Thursday. As per a report in The Times of India, the driver and the passenger had an argument when she tried to pay electronically through her e-wallet. Demanding cash, the driver allegedly abused the Bangalore-based woman and slapped her on the face.
Avetta Thempatty, a native of Mavelikkara, had hired an Ola cab to travel from Lulu Mall to Panampilly Nagar at 8.45pm on Tuesday. Upon reaching the destination, the accused demanded the payment in cash. “I was asked by this Ola guy to pay in cash instead of Ola Money. Since I had already filled my Ola wallet and didn’t have cash, this guy started accusing me and when I raised my voice, he slapped me on my face. Well, Kerala is very unsafe to travel. He was showering abusive words on me. Really helpless situation,” Aveta, who is working as a digital marketing manager posted on Facebook.
According to the TOI report, Police said the woman asked the driver to end the trip as it was getting late but he refused and started abusing her in Malayalam. When she tried to capture him on video, he slapped her, police said.
Aveta lodged a complaint in the Ernakulam South police station on Wednesday morning. A case has been registered under Section 354 IPC (Assault or criminal force against woman with intent to outrage her modesty) against the driver, identified as K.B. Vinu.
“We have traced the accused’s location and he will soon be taken into custody,” Sibi Tom, Circle Inspector of Police, Ernakulam South, informed The Hindu.
Ola responded to the complaint stating that the company has zero tolerance towards such behaviour and they had suspended the driver soon after the social media post was made. The statement:
“We regret the experience that the customer had to go through during the ride. We have zero tolerance for such behaviour and have suspended the driver. We have extended full support to the customer to pursue this issue with the relevant authorities.
Safety of customers is our topmost priority. We have several in-app features and programs in place to ensure a safe and convenient mobility experience for customers. The Ola app is equipped with an SOS button, LIVE GPS tracking to share ride information, mobile number masking, and feedback on ride quality with ratings on ride completion, amongst other features. All of this enables a consistent experience for users. In case of an emergency, customers can also, reach out to Ola’s 24×7 helpline, directly from the app.”