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Delhi Bans Virtual Taxi Firms After Uber Rape Case

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Delhi has banned internet-based taxi firms after the alleged rape of a female passenger by a driver contracted to US mobile car-booking company Uber.
 
The Delhi state government's transport department said that only six registered radio taxi companies - Easy Cab, Mega Cab, Meru Cab, Chanson Cab, Yo Cab and Air Cab - are allowed to operate in the area.
 
All other transport and taxi service providers through web-based technology, who are not recognised, are prohibited from providing such services, it said.
 
The Home Ministry is planning to ask all state governments and administration of nine union territories, where Uber runs its cab services, to put a ban on it, PTI reported.
 
The company, whose backers include Goldman Sachs Group and Google Ventures, operates in around 10 Indian cities, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Pune.
 
The online taxi booking service is under attack in India for not doing background checks on the driver accused of raping a 27-year-old finance company executive on Friday night.
 
The rape accused driver is in police custody. (PTI)
Shiv Kumar Yadav, aged 32, arrested on Sunday in his home town Mathura, 160 km from Delhi, is a repeat offender, it emerged during his interrogation by the police.
 
Uber could not produce the call records of the accused promptly as the server was located in the US, according to reports citing police.
 
The Delhi rape case comes days before the second anniversary of the brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012 and highlights the dangers women face while using public transport in the Indian capital.
 
The city witnessed protests at various places, including outside Home Minister Rajnath Singh's residence.
 
Holding placards and chanting anti-government slogans, the protesters demanded better security for women and punishment for the driver.
 
Uber's Troubles in Brazil, US
Delhi is not the only place where Uber has run into trouble.
 
The US city of Portland in a complaint against the company said: "Uber’s operations pose an immediate, real and substantial threat to the public".
 
Portland is seeking court orders declaring Uber to be in violation of city laws and blocking it from operating.
 
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil has filed a complaint with police against Uber and similar firms for not seeking local transport licences. The Rio police’s cyber crime unit has launched an investigation.
 
The San Francisco-based Uber, which operates in 250 cities in 50 countries, has faced critical news coverage over its driver screening in the US.
 
"What happened over the weekend in New Delhi is horrific," Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement on Sunday.
 
"We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs," Kalanick said.
 
FIR Registered
A case of cheating has been filed by Delhi Police against Uber in connection with the alleged rape.
 
"We have registered a separate FIR (first information report) against Uber under Section 420 (cheating) of IPC. In investigations so far, it emerged that the company cheated their customer on the pretext of providing safe commuting with duly verified driver," said Madhur Verma, a deputy commissioner of police.
 
Earlier a senior Delhi Police official said: "We may book the company under CrPc section 188 and other charges as criminal negligence and abetment to the crime have been made out against Uber".
 
"We wanted to know the role of the company while it brings the customer and the car driver into contact through its App. What is the liability of the company if the driver commits a crime as in this case? What is the business model, how it works, who are its promoters?" the officer said.
 
Sources said Uber's General Manager for Marketing Gagan Bhatia, who claims to be in charge of the company's India operations, could not come up with satisfactory answers to these questions posed by police and he has been asked to produce documents regarding the company’s operations in India.