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Uber banned in Indian capital after alleged rape of female passenger

Uber banned in Indian capital after alleged rape of female passenger


Delhi government says taxi-hailing service is 'misleading customers' as police investigate its policy on driver background checks

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The Delhi government banned Uber today, after one of the company's taxi drivers was arrested on charges of raping a female passenger. In a statement issued today, the Delhi transport department said the mobile taxi-hailing service has been blacklisted from providing any transport services in the Indian capital.

The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, was arrested Sunday after allegedly raping a 25-year-old woman who was returning home from dinner on Friday night. As Reuters reports, Yadav, 32, faced rape charges in 2011 as well, though they were ultimately dropped after his accuser — also a taxi passenger — agreed to a settlement.

Questions emerge over background check policy

The incident comes two years after the fatal gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus, which sparked nationwide protests and calls for tougher laws to protect women in India. New Delhi police will also question Uber executives about their hiring practices and how the company conducts background checks on prospective drivers.

"Every violation by Uber will be evaluated and we will go for legal recourse," Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner with the Delhi police, told Reuters.

Uber has expanded rapidly across India over the past year, and has proven particularly popular among women who perceive it as a safer transit option. According to recent government statistics, more women in Delhi were raped in 2012 than any other major Indian city, with 585 reported cases. That figure notably doesn't account for the many rape and sexual assault cases that go unreported.

In a statement issued prior to Monday's ban, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick appeared to deflect responsibility for Friday's incident, noting that clear background check policies have not been implemented by the Delhi government.

"We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs," Kalanick said. "We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women."

Uber expanded background checks for US drivers earlier this year, making both federal and county checks mandatory for drivers. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.