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Delhi court finds Uber driver guilty of rape

20 October 2015, 08:48

New Delhi - An Indian Uber driver was convicted Tuesday of raping a young female passenger in the capital last year, in a high profile case that sparked fresh safety fears in a city plagued by sexual violence.

Uber was banned from operating in Delhi in the aftermath of the December 5 attack, which sparked accusations it had failed to conduct adequate background checks, although the ban has never been fully enforced.

The Delhi court found Shiv Kumar Yadav guilty of raping the 25-year-old woman as she returned home from dinner with friends in the Indian capital.

"He has been convicted and found to be guilty for all charges against him, which include rape," public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told AFP after the verdict was delivered.

He will be sentenced on October 23 after being convicted on four charges -- rape, abduction, intimidation and causing harm.

"(The) court has convicted him for all the sections for which he was charged," defence lawyer Dharmender Kumar Mishra told reporters outside the court.

Shortly after the attack it emerged that Yadav had been accused of assaulting other women, although he had no previous convictions.

Yadav was tried by one of the special fast-track courts introduced in 2013 following the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in Delhi, a crime that shocked the nation and sparked angry protests about India's treatment of women.

Also read: Hindu mob kills Muslim over beef

The Uber rape occurred days before the second anniversary of that now notorious attack, which earned Delhi the title of India's "rape capital", and returned the issue of violence against women to the spotlight.

The victim in the December 5 attack, who cannot be named, said she had dozed off in a taxi while returning home from dinner with friends.

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.

- 'Brought to justice' -

Uber, which resumed operations in the capital earlier this year despite the ban, said it had learned lessons from the case and had made improvements to its checks and customer support.

"Sexual assault is a terrible crime and we're pleased he has now been brought to justice," said Amit Jain, Uber India president, in a statement on the verdict.

The California-based startup's rapid international growth has sparked tensions in several countries, with rival taxi companies protesting that Uber cars are not subject to the same regulations.

It set up its India operation in September 2013, and now works in around a dozen Indian cities.

The company and its Indian rival Ola applied for formal licences to operate as radio taxi companies after they were banned from operating in December.

Authorities in Delhi rejected Uber's application saying it had failed to comply with requirements for a licence, including a GPS system to track its taxis and police-verified badges for its drivers.

But this month the national government published new guidelines for web-based ride-hailing firms, a move seen as a boost for Uber and Ola's battle for legal status and licence approvals.


Tags uber india rape

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