Police in India have questioned an executive from the global taxi-booking service Uber in connection with the alleged rape of a woman by one of its New Delhi drivers.
Delhi police official Brijendra Kumar Yadav said on Tuesday that there was a possibility of pressing criminal charges against the company if police found evidence the taxi-hailing app misrepresented the safety of its service.
“What we are doing is trying to ascertain what knowledge Uber had of this person,” Yadav said. Police were also investigating whether the driver may have presented false documents to Uber, according to local news agency Press Trust of India.
Earlier in the day, India’s interior ministry banned all unregistered, web-based taxi services, in the country after the Delhi government banned Uber.
However, India’s transport minister dubbed the country-wide ban as an “unfair response”.
“Tomorrow, if something happens on a bus we can’t ban that. It is the system that needs to be changed. Banning will only cause inconvenience to the people,” Nitin Gadkari told reporters.
He called for a digitised system to track driver’s licenses and allow everyone’s record to be viewed.
The suspect, 32-year-old Shiv Kumar Yadav, is being held by police and will appear again in a New Delhi court on Thursday. A 26-year-old woman who hired Yadav for a ride home from a dinner engagement on Friday night accused him of rape.
Police are still trying to verify the suspect’s claims that he had been acquitted of rape charges in 2011, after spending seven months in jail.
The case, almost two years after a young woman was fatally gang-raped on a bus in the capital, has renewed national anger over sexual violence in India and demands for more effort to ensure women’s safety.