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India: Police arrest Uber taxi driver suspected of rape

Police in the Indian capital have arrested an Uber driver who allegedly raped a 25-year-old executive. The woman was coming back home from a party on Friday.

A driver for the pay-per-ride company Uber who reportedly raped a 25-year-old woman in New Delhi, was arrested by police in New Delhi on Sunday.

The suspect, a 32-year-old man called Shiv Kumar Yadav, was held in his hometown Mathura, around 160 kilometers south of the national capital. Police have filed a case of rape against Yadav, who will be presented before a court on Monday, New Delhi's deputy police commissioner Madhur Verma told Reuters. He said that his team would also take legal action against Uber for violations, including failure to check the driver's criminal record.

The incident happened on Friday night when the 25-year-old finance professional decided to call an Uber cab through her smartphone app. She fell asleep on the ride and found the car parked in a lonely place when she woke up. The driver raped her, threatening to hit her with a rod if she resisted, she said. He then dropped her home.

The Press Trust of India quoted a police officer who said that the woman had managed to take a picture of the car's number plate before alerting authorities.

Low security for Uber riders

Deepak Mishra, special police commissioner, criticized Uber for its lax security measures: "Our investigations have revealed the shortcomings of the private cab company which didn't have a GPS installed in its cabs and the staff wasn't verified."

Meanwhile, the company released a statement saying it worked with licensed drivers to provide transportation and that it had several "layers of safeguards." An Uber spokeswoman said that her company was "with the victim of this terrible crime" and that it was working with the police on the investigation.

Uber lets customers order and pay for taxis or private vehicles using a smartphone app. The firm has been the subject of privacy concerns after it was accused of tracking riders in the United States.

The company is trying to spread its influence in the Indian market by attracting young urban professionals and guaranteeing safe rides for women, especially after the brutal gang rape of a young physiotherapist sparked international shock and outrage two years ago.

mg/bw (dpa, AFP)

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