In the early hours of June 1, a Bengaluru-based architect faced a horrifying experience. An Ola cab driver allegedly held her hostage, forcefully made her disrobe, clicked her nude photos and even threatened to call his friends and get her gangraped.
The 26-year-old woman had booked an Ola cab from Kodihalli to the Kempegowda International Airport in the city at around 2 am on June 1. She was slated to board a flight to Mumbai early that morning.
The Ola diver Arun V allegedly took a detour from the main road just before the toll gate. When the woman asked him why he was going the wrong way, he is said to have told her that they could avoid the toll gate and reach sooner through the short cut.
“When they reached a secluded spot, the woman got scared and began screaming when she realised that the doors were locked. Before she could click the emergency button on the app, the driver is said to have snatched her phone away,” Jeevan Bhima Nagar Police said.
Arun allegedly tried to choke her as the woman refused to comply. When she began screaming once again, he allegedly said, “Be quiet and take off your clothes or I will call my friends who will gang rape you.”
Scared and helpless, the woman complied with his demands, she told the police. “The accused then clicked nude pictures of her on her mobile phone and transferred it to himself on WhatsApp. He also molested her. The girl begged him to let her go and promised to never speak of the incident. Arun then dropped her to the airport after he was convinced of her pleas. He called her twice after she entered the airport but she blocked his number,” the police added.
Upon reaching Mumbai, the girl emailed her complaint to Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar, who immediately ordered that an FIR be registered against Arun. The survivor, had sent her statement along with details of the cab and driver.
The Jeevan Bhima Nagar Police have registered an FIR based on the emailed complaint under sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354(B) (intent to disrobe), 354(C) (voyeurism), 387 (putting a person in fear of death) ,307 (attempt to murder) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and also 66(E) (publishing material which violates privacy) of the IT Act.
The police arrested Arun V on Monday based on the information provided by the woman. When TNM reached out to Ola for a comment, the company said that the driver has been blacklisted.
"We regret the unfortunate experience the customer had during the ride. We have zero tolerance for such incidents and the driver has been blacklisted from the platform as an immediate action upon receiving the complaint. Safety of customers is our top priority and we are extending our full support to the police authorities in their investigation. The driver-partner in question holds a valid police verification check that confirms no criminal cases have been recorded against him. This is a mandatory process for all driver-partners who operate on our platform," the company said in a statement.