Uber banned in Delhi after rape by driver

The police are checking whether Uber was negligent in some areas including the background check of the driver

Uber has been banned from operating any transport service in Delhi by the city's transport department, after one of its drivers was charged with raping a female passenger over the weekend.

Earlier on Monday, Madhur Verma, Delhi's deputy commissioner of police, said the police served notice to Uber in connection with investigations of the rape.

Verma said the police was checking whether the ride-hailing company had neglected in its background check of the driver, even as news reports claimed he had been arrested previously in 2011 in another sexual assault case.

The police also wanted to check whether the taxi had GPS (global positioning system) in operation at the time. The driver's mobile phone had GPS but it had been switched off to avoid detection, Verma said.

The transport department said Uber had violated its rules by assigning to the woman a taxi that had a national tourist permit and was not allowed to offer services within Delhi, according to local news reports. The woman passenger was also misled about the taxi service, the department said without providing details.

On Sunday, Uber said it partners only with "registered for-hire drivers who have undergone the commercial licensing process, hold government issued IDs, state-issued permits, and carry full commercial insurance." It said it shared details of the driver with the police.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Monday described the incident in Delhi as horrific. "We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery," said Kalanick, who promised to work with the government "to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs."

Uber did not immediately comment on the transport department decision.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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