Ola driver booked for harassing woman passenger

He allegedly watched porn on his phone during the ride

A taxi driver from the aggregator service Ola allegedly watched a pornographic clip on his cellphone and harassed a 22-year-old woman passenger on Saturday morning.

The woman later told the police that the driver, identified as Devasamoliya and currently absconding, held the phone in such a manner that she could see it, and kept touching himself. She also alleged that despite raising a complaint with the aggregator immediately after the incident, no action was taken until she lodged a police complaint.

The woman had booked the taxi from Yelahanka to her workplace in J.P. Nagar around 6.30 a.m. The roads were relatively deserted and when they approached Queen’s Circle near Cubbon Park, she saw the driver angle his mobile phone towards her. He was holding the device with his left hand and sometimes touched himself, she told the police.

She realised that she was not safe in the taxi and immediately instructed him to stop. He, however, allegedly refused and said that they had not reached the destination. “The woman told us that she managed to get him to stop with great difficulty on Kasturba Road,” said a police officer.

When she reached her office, she raised a complaint with Ola’s call centre who assured her that the matter would be probed. In her statement to the police, she said the company’s executives called her back and said that when they spoke to Devasamoliya, he said he knew nothing about the incident.

With no action taken against him, she approached the Cubbon Park police. The police have registered a case under sections 354 (a) (1) and 354 (a) (2) for sexual harassment against Devasamoliya and seized the taxi. Efforts are on to track him down, a senior officer said.

In a statement to the press, Ola said that the driver has been sacked and that they are cooperating with the police investigation. “We are shocked and deeply disturbed by this incident and have immediately removed the driver’s access to the platform. We are standing by our customer and have extended full assistance to the police in their ongoing investigation,” said an Ola spokesperson.

This is the third case in less than three months where a woman passenger was harassed by an Ola driver.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 8:00:32 AM |

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