Delhi Police is considering filing an FIR against Uber as investigators probing the rape of a 27-year-old woman have found “criminal negligence” and “abetment” to crime by the US-based cab company whose General Manager was grilled today.
Uber’s General Manager (Marketing) Gagan Bhatia, who claims to be the in-charge of the company’s India operations, during his day-long questioning has not been able to provide much information to the police regarding the company’s operations and its policies.
“We may book the company under CrPc section 188 and other charges as criminal negligence and abetment to the crime have been made out against Uber,” said a senior Delhi police officer.
The investigations have gathered momentum amid growing outrage over the rape allegedly by a driver of Uber who had been arrested yesterday.
“We wanted to know the role of the company while it brings the customer and the car driver into contact through its App. What is the liability of the company if the driver commits a crime as in this case. What is the business model, how it works, who are its promoters,” the officer said.
Sources privy to the investigation revealed that Bhatia could not come up with satisfactory answers to these questions posed by cops and he has been asked to produce the documents regarding the operations of the company in India.
“He first told us that there is no country head and he reports to one guy who heads its operation at EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Asia). If we don’t get satisfactory answers from Bhatia we may call this EMEA head for questioning,” the officer added.
He added that they have come across gross violations on part of the company in terms of violation of the Motor Vehicle Act and others.
“We may book the company under section 188 of CrPc and other sections as criminal negligence and abetment to the crime have been made out against Uber. As of now we are seeing what sections could be added and whether a separate FIR has to be filed or it would be merged in the same FIR and under what sections we have to file it,” he added.
Bhatia, who reached the office of DCP North’s office at Civil Lines with two lawyers in the afternoon, was questioned by a team led by Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Brijendra Kumar Yadav.
Later, in the evening Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi also pointed out that there were “certain gaps in the system” and said that the company “had certain responsibility” in the case.
In Delhi, black and yellow taxi and radio taxi operate.
Radio Taxi, were introduced in 2006. Six cab service providers like Meru and Easycab are working under certain conditions laid down under the Radio Taxi Policy of 2006, he said.
“With the expansion of Internet, certain virtual platforms have come up, Uber was one of them. They had been working without any permission from the transport authorities and there are certain gaps in the system.
“They had been bringing the two together, one the taxi operator as well as the customer through a virtual platform.
So, yes they had certain responsibilities, because when you are bringing the two together, you are ensuring the customer of certain quality, which was not there,” said Bassi.
Some of the gross violations under the MV Act included that the cab had an All India tourist permit but was running as a Radio Taxi in Delhi.
As per the norms set for a vehicle having All India Tourist Permit, “Tourist Vehicle” should have been painted on the car on both sides within a diameter of 25 cm and a board with “All India Tourist Permit” written in black letters should have been above the yellow registration number plate in the front of the car.