Report: Uber driver accused of Delhi attack had previously been jailed for rape
Earlier today, Indian police said they intend to pursue legal charges against Uber for failing to do a background check on the driver accused of raping a passenger in Delhi.
This evening the story has taken an even darker twist: According to new police reports, quoted by NDTV, the driver accused of the Delhi attack was previously imprisoned for seven months after being charged with raping a 22-year old women in 2011.
As Pando reported earlier this year, Uber had previously failed to do adequate background checks on its US drivers, resulting in at least one driver being allowed to drive, despite having served prison time for a felony. The driver was later accused of assaulting a passenger in a racially-motivated attack.
Earlier today, a day after the alleged Delhi attack, Uber posted a statement to its blog, insisting that safety is its #1 priority:
Safety is our #1 priority and in India, Uber exclusively partners with registered for-hire drivers who have undergone the commercial licensing process, hold government issued IDs, state-issued permits, and carry full commercial insurance. Uber also has a GPS trace and record of all trips that occur on the platform – information that has been shared with the authorities. We will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in their investigation to bring this crime to justice.However, the statement is only visible to those know the specific URL. Visitors to the main Uber blog front page instead see an announcement that "UBER OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES IN HANOI!"
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has posted an additional statement, also at a hidden URL on the Uber blog, in which he blames India's lax background check requirements for the company's failure to vet its driver:
What happened over the weekend in New Delhi is horrific. Our entire team’s hearts go out to the victim of this despicable crime. We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery.
We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women.