The Bommanahalli police in Bengaluru on Tuesday arrested Ola driver Ravikumar for allegedly molesting a woman passenger who took the cab service last week. Police officials have maintained that a “clear picture will emerge” only after interrogation of the accused.
Aarti*, a singer by profession, was out for a karaoke night, after which she boarded the taxi aggregator to commute from the event in Koramangala to her place in Begur. Aarti boarded the silver coloured Tata Indica at 2:15 am in the morning, to travel a distance of approximately 7 km.
However, about 5 km away form her house, Ravikumar took a detour, following which Aarti told him to follow the location entered in the map.
Aarti told The News Minute He was sitting still for a moment or two. He suddenly turned back and grabbed my breast. I tried to push him away but he continued molesting me. I started screaming and I did it really loudly, but no one was coming to help me. I then knew that there was no one else to help me and I had to fend for myself. I was panicking but I managed to push him and jump out of the car.
Aarti took shelter at a small clinic, while she waited for her friend to come get her. While filing a complaint against Ravikumar at the Bommanahalli station, Aarti alleges that the police wanted to know if she was "trying to get attention."
Aarti told The News MinuteWhen I went to file an FIR with my friend, one of the cops in the station asked my friend if my complaint was genuine. He wanted to know if I was doing it to get attention. Is this how the police treat people who go through the ordeal of molestation?
Ola responded to the case with this statement:
Ola’s statementWe have terminated the driver partner from the Ola platform as soon as we received a complaint from the customer. Safety of users is of utmost importance to us and we have zero-tolerance towards any such behaviour. We have assured the customer of full support in further investigation of the issue.
However, this is not the only molestation case Ola has been embroiled in this month.
Another Case, This Time in Mumbai
Shadabh Mohommad Ibrahim Shaikh (32) was arrested on Thursday night for molesting a 32-year-old woman. According to Hindustan Times, the arrest was made by the police from Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg Police. The incident occurred on 10 April when the woman was going to pick her son from his school and was forced by the cab driver to sit in the cab.
Police Officer to Hindustan TimesOnce the woman sat next to him, the driver pounced on her and asked her to be his friend. He insisted that she give him her mobile number and even snatched her phone. When the woman resisted, Shaikh started the car. She tried to raise the alarm, but realised that he had locked all the doors and rolled up the windows.
The driver reportedly stopped the vehicle after he got scared that the woman might jump out of the moving car. Seizing the opportunity, the woman jumped out and asked him to return her phone. But the driver fled the spot in his car. The police were later able to trace him with the woman’s mobile phone.
This is not the first of such incidents for the home-grown taxi aggregator. Last year, two Ola drivers were arrested within two weeks of each other on charges of molesting women passengers.
Ola has not responded to the arrest of the driver in Mumbai.
(*Names have been changed to protect the woman’s identity.)