Uber, the U.S. online ride-hailing service, has been banned from operating in the Indian capital with immediate effect after a young female passenger was allegedly raped by one if its drivers, the Hindustan Times reported.
The Delhi government has blacklisted Uber from providing transport services due to the behaviour of its driver, the newspaper said, quoting a statement from the transport ministry.
The news could not be independently verified but was reported by other news outlets. Repeated calls to officials at the city’s transport department went unanswered.
Police said they were considering legal action against the online taxi service for failing to run background checks on the driver, who was arrested on Sunday and due to be brought before a court on Monday.
Indian police said they were considering legal action against the online taxi service for failing to run background checks. The company said there were no defined rules in India on background checks for commercial transport licences and it was working with the government to address the issue.
“What happened over the weekend in New Delhi is horrific,” Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice.”
The attack is the latest to draw attention to the dangers faced by women in the world’s second-most populous nation. Even after the enactment of new laws imposing stricter penalties and establishing fast-track courts, India is struggling to tame attitudes that leave women vulnerable to harassment and rape.
The arrested driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, is expected to appear in court on Monday afternoon. He was arrested for raping a woman three years ago but was later acquitted, police said.
“Every violation by Uber will be evaluated and we will go for legal recourse,” said Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner with the Delhi police.
Police said the 32-year-old driver dropped the woman home after attacking her and warned her not to inform the authorities. She managed to note the driver’s number and take a photograph of his car, they said.
Police accuse Uber of failing to check whether the driver had a clean police record or had a satellite location device in his car.
The sexual assault happened two years after the fatal gang rape of another young woman taking public transport in New Delhi. That case led to nationwide protests and forced the government to address demands for heavier sentences for rape.
In a chilling reminder of the 2012 bus attack, the 26-year-old victim of Friday night’s assault told police the driver threatened to insert a rod in her genitals, Indian media reported.