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Uber driver arrested for Delhi rape was career criminal – police

NEW DELHI: The Uber taxi driver held on suspicion of raping a passenger in India is a career criminal who was out on bail for sexually assaulting a woman, the Delhi police said, raising fresh concerns about the safety of using the U.S. cab company.

Madhur Verma, a deputy commissioner with the Delhi police, said Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, has charges dating back more than a decade. Yadav’s offences include robbery, molestation and possessing an unlicensed firearm.

Verma said on his Twitter page on Tuesday that Yadav was a “big time rogue” in his home town of Mainpuri, in Uttar Pradesh. On Monday, Yadav was remanded in custody for three days by a Delhi court.

The central government has requested that all state governments ban Uber and all other unregistered, web-based taxi companies from operating amid passenger safety concerns.

The case has triggered protests, questions in parliament and reignited an angry debate about the safety of women in Asia’s third-largest economy, especially New Delhi, which is often dubbed India’s rape capital.

Public outrage has been fuelled further by Uber acknowledging that it failed to carry out background checks on the driver and that he was able to obtain a forged character reference supposedly signed by a police officer.

A U.S.-based woman, Nidhi Shah, said on her Twitter page she had lodged a complaint with Uber about the behaviour of Yadav 10 days before the attack took place.

She said in her complaint the driver constantly stared at her in the rear-view mirror, making her uncomfortable during the journey. Uber told her it would investigate the case.

India is the second-largest market after the United States for Uber by number of cities covered. It operated in 11 cities in India, including New Delhi, before the rape allegations.

The Uber service stopped working in Delhi on Wednesday, two days after the state government banned it.

Uber sent a text message to drivers in the city promising to pay all drivers by Friday.

“Uber is deeply shocked and saddened this week,” the message said. “Many of you have sent supportive words and we are very grateful.” (Reuters)

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