Facing an onslaught of criticism over the alleged rape by one its drivers, internet-based taxi firm Uber today apologised and said it will tighten background checks even as two more states–Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka– banned web-based cab services.A Delhi court, meanwhile, remanded the driver Shiv Kumar Yadav arrested for allegedly raping a 27-year old woman executive on Friday night here, in judicial custody till December 24. As investigations by Delhi Police continued, Nidhi Shah, the US-based woman who had tweeted about the alleged indecent behaviour of Yadav on November 26 when she had taken his cab during her India visit had responded to Delhi Police’s offer to file a complaint with them in this connection. Also Read - Uber cab service resumed in 31 cities in India with new Lockdown 4.0 guidelines
In a related development, an agent of a finance company has been detained by the police after he was suspected to have helped Yadav procure the fake character certificate which he had submitted to RTO to get an All India Tourist Permit. Uber, the US-based firm, said it will assist authorities to help bring the accused to justice as it expressed hope of operating in the national capital again. “We are sorry and deeply saddened by what happened over the weekend in New Delhi. Our hearts go out to the victim of this horrible crime. We have been and will continue to do everything in our power to assist the authorities to help bring the perpetrator to justice,” Uber said in a statement. Also Read - Uber launches 'Uber Connect' package delivery service to rival Dunzo and Swiggy Genie
It further said that events of the week have made it look into its operations in India and they are taking a number of important actions. “Firstly, we are conducting a full audit of our verification, rider feedback and support processes. We are implementing measures to ensure that critical rider feedback is escalated immediately and immediate action is taken in every instance. We are also re-reviewing rider feedback on every driver partner across India to make sure nothing has been missed. “Second, we are assessing all driver screening processes. Also Read - Uber to operate 'Essential' cab service to hospitals and pharmacy stores in 4 cities
We are evaluating additional screening options to include background checks on all our driver partners in India and third, we will also bring in our global best practices where it would enhance our India safety efforts,” the detailed statement said. Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey sent Yadav to Tihar Jail after the investigating officer (IO) said that his custodial interrogation was not necessary as a mobile phone and clothes, which the accused was wearing at the time of the incident, have been recovered. The officer submitted that the investigation in the case was still on.
Andhra Pradesh government said no web-based taxi service can operate in the state as it had not given a license to any such operator. “Government of Andhra Pradesh has not given licence to any web-based taxi service,” transport commissioner G Anantha Ramu said, Delhi, Maharashtra and Telangana have already banned all web-based cab services. Karnataka government also said all taxi services including web-based services not registered in the state will be considered illegal and will have to stop operations immediately.