While transport officials claimed that the raids were carried out over non-compliance in submitting quarterly reports, industry insiders said the raids may have other motives.

Collage of Ola and Uber cabs
Atom Transport Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 17:08

The Karnataka Transport Department raided the Bengaluru offices of major app-based cab aggregators Ola and Uber on July 16 and July 17. Officials said the raids were carried out because of non-compliance by these companies with respect to furnishing quarterly reports with the department, about their fleet size, partner driver numbers, and other related information. 

‚ÄúThese raids will be followed up with penalties, followed by suspension and eventually cancellation of licenses if the companies do not follow the due process,'' Additional Transport Commissioner Hemant Kumar told TNM. It is now being learnt that till now, there was allegedly never an insistence from the department for these reports and the department too did not raise it.  

Uber, Ola and other aggregators are currently bound by the Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules and these raids were carried out by the government department for violation of certain rules. Sources in these companies claimed these raids had little to do with reports not being submitted. 

This is not the first time that the department officials made visits to the offices of Ola and Uber or have taken disciplinary action against them. In 2019, Ola’s license in Karanataka was suspended for running bike taxis in contravention of the rules in the state. However, the ban was revoked after two days following the intervention of then Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge. The companies and the state government had been at loggerheads over fare pricing, too, with the latter putting restrictions on dynamic pricing. As part of litigation in the Karnataka High Court, the Transport Department has been asked not to take coercive action with regards to the fare collection system and other related matters.

Incidentally, the two companies were also being probed by the Director-General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGI) earlier this year. At the time, it was alleged that the companies were defaulting on their GST payments over years. It was reported that the probe was based on the failure of GST payment on incentives given to driver-partners. 

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