According to multiple reports, a young woman in New Delhi was allegedly raped by an Uber driver while returning home Saturday night.
Reports citing a Delhi police complaint say that the woman entered the cab before 10 p.m. and fell asleep in the back of the car. When she awoke, she had been driven to an unknown and secluded spot, where the driver assaulted and raped her with the doors locked. After the alleged incident, police told NDTV that "the driver then dropped her off near her home in Inderlok in north Delhi after threatening to kill her if she spoke of the matter to anybody."
Currently, the suspected driver is missing. According to reports, he deleted the Uber app from his phone after the incident so as not to be tracked and police claim the phone may not have been registered in the suspect's name.
Though accounts vary on the woman's age (one claims she is 25 and the other 27), police note that she managed to take a picture of the driver's license plate with her phone. Police are currently looking for the suspect.
A spokesperson for Uber told BuzzFeed News that the company became aware of the incident this morning and is fully cooperating with police to investigate the issue. According to the spokesperson:
It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver's account following allegations of a serious incident, which we have done. In India, we work with licensed 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.
This incident comes just days after Uber announced it had raised $1.8 billion funding round to expand in the Asia Pacific region, of which New Delhi is a part. Uber's newest round values the company at $40 billion.
Uber updated its blog Sunday morning with an official statement on the incident:
This is an abhorrent crime. Our thoughts remain with the victim who has shown tremendous courage under the circumstances.
Upon being notified of this incident, our team immediately provided the local authorities with all relevant details, including:
-- driver (name, age, photo, complete driver’s license details, bank verified address)
-- vehicle (license, registration, insurance, state-issued driver permit)
-- trip details (trip data, route, pick-up & drop-off location)
Safety is our #1 priority and in India, Uber exclusively partners with registered for-hire drivers who have undergone the commercial licensing process, hold government issued IDs, state-issued permits, and carry full commercial insurance. Uber also has a GPS trace and record of all trips that occur on the platform – information that has been shared with the authorities. We will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in their investigation to bring this crime to justice.
We will also work with the community, with government and the technology industry to find more ways to promote safety in transportation, particularly for women – both here in Delhi and throughout India.
Shiv Kumar Yadav, the Uber driver who allegedly raped his passenger, has been arrested, New Delhi police confirmed to The Indian Express. Tanima Biswas, the chief correspondent of NDTV, tweeted that Yadav went into hiding in Mathura, a village close to his home. However, because he was turning his phone on and off, cops were able to pinpoint his location and apprehend him after a 25-minute chase.
Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner of North Delhi police, told The Indian Express that after investigating possible security lapses (such as failing to conduct a background check) the police plan to hold Uber liable for negligence.