It was a long night on Friday for Bengaluru Ola cab driver Somashekar (30) as he was well into a 13-hour shift. Somashekhar wanted to finish a few more trips before heading home. Little did he know that his customers would make him drive to another district outside of Bengaluru, threaten him at knifepoint, abduct him and rob him.
Around 11.30 pm, Somashekar accepted a trip and picked up four men from Adugodi. He was driving towards the drop location, Dommasandra, and halfway through, one of the unidentified men allegedly pulled out a knife, held it to Somashekhar's throat and told him to drive to Bidadi, located outside of the city.
"I was shocked and I got scared, so I decided to drive them to Bidadi. When we reached Bidadi, the men refused to let me go," Somashekarâ€™s police complaint states.
The men allegedly asked him to drive to Channapatna, located in Ramanagara district, where they asked him to stop on the main road. "One of the men asked me to give him my ATM card. One of them held a knife to my throat and demanded to know the PIN number," the complaint adds.
Somashekar gave them the PIN number and the miscreants allegedly withdrew the last of his savings -- Rs 20,000 -- from his bank account. The torture did not end there. Somashekhar was then taken to a lodge in Channapatna, where the men allegedly locked him up in a room.
â€śI knew they would kill me. I just waited for them to leave me alone in the room. At around 9 am on Saturday, I jumped out of the window and ran here (Channapatna Police Station)," the complaint states.
The miscreants allegedly stole his phone and wallet too. â€śHe did not remember the name of the man who booked the cab, and his phone was also stolen. Since the men got into the cab at Adugodi, we told him to go to the Adugodi Police Station and file the complaint there. He is now on his way back to Bengaluru, where he is yet to file a complaint. An FIR will be registered after that. The men can be tracked down after details of the customer is obtained from Ola," an official with the Channapatna Police Station said.
Two days after the incident, Ola issued a statement condemning the incident. The company stated that the customer has been blacklisted.
"This is an extremely unfortunate incident and we deeply regret the harrowing experience the driver-partner and his family have allegedly been put through. We strongly condemn such acts of assault and have blacklisted the customerâ€™s Ola account immediately on the complaint being registered with us. We are in touch with the driver-partner to extend support to him, and have been assisting the investigating authorities with all necessary information. We hold our driver-partners in high regard for the work they do as entrepreneurs and stand by them against humiliation or intimidation of any kind,â€ť a statement from Ola reads.