India police formally charge Uber driver with rape

December 25, 2014 – Police formally charged an Uber taxi driver with the rape of a passenger in New Delhi, a report said, in a case that has reignited anger over women’s safety in India.

Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, was arrested and remanded in custody after the 25-year-old passenger accused him of raping her when she fell asleep in his cab on the night of December 5. Yadav was driving a taxi while on bail on a slew of previous charges including rape and molestation.

Delhi police filed a 150-page charge sheet before a court in the capital, laying down charges of rape, abduction, criminal intimidation and voluntarily causing hurt, the Press Trust of India reported.

Police told the court that they plan to field 44 prosecution witnesses and that they used forensic evidence and the route map of the taxi in their 19-day investigation, according to PTI. Yadav will remain in jail until the next scheduled court hearing on Jan 2.

The Uber case once again raised the issue of women’s safety in India, just days before the second anniversary of a fatal gang-rape of a Delhi student that unleashed widespread outrage. The attack on the 23-year-old on a bus on Dec 16, 2012 sparked street protests and led to tougher laws against rapists and other sexual offenders.

In the latest incident, the victim dozed off in the taxi as she was returning home from dinner. She told police she woke to find the taxi parked in a secluded place where the driver assaulted and raped her, before dumping her near her home in north Delhi.

Uber, which has come under fire for failing to perform background checks in India, has been banned from operating in Delhi and accused of failing to follow local regulations.

The taxi app service has expanded rapidly around the world since it first launched in the United States in 2009. But it is facing a growing burden of bad publicity and resistance from regulators in several countries, who accuse it of unfair competition and a lack of standards.