A 30-year-old woman headed for the airport in an Ola cab was allegedly attacked and abducted by the driver in Bengaluru on Wednesday night. The woman was rescued after she was heard screaming and banging on the window by toll-gate officials and motorists near KIA toll plaza on Ballari Road.
The driver, Suresh, 28, a native of Andhra Pradesh is a resident of Banaswadi in the city. He was booked by police officials for outraging the modesty of a woman, kidnapping and driving under the influence of alcohol.
The alert toll-gate officials who rescued the woman pulled out the cab driver and called the police control room. Police officials from Chikkajala police station took the accused into custody.
The woman is a resident of Indiranagar and is employed in a private company. She had booked the cab from Banaswadi to go to Kempegowda International Airport around 11:30 pm. Police officials at Chikkajala police station confirmed that the cab supposed to take her to the airport was instead heading for Devanahalli. “She sensed something was wrong when the cab did not take the route to the airport and instead headed towards Yelahanka junction. She claimed that the driver did not slow down and was instead going at a high speed at the junction” a police official at Chikkajala police station told TNM.
The woman revealed that she was rescued by motorists who noticed her at the KIA Toll Plaza on Ballari Road. “We had crossed the ramp leading to KIA. I noticed the toll plaza since the car had slowed. This was the last opportunity to save myself. I hammered on the window glass and started shouting. To my good fortune, a couple of motorists, mostly cab drivers, noticed me. They chased our vehicle for nearly 400 metres, blocked it and pulled the driver out,” she said speaking to Times Of India.
“She showed great presence of mind to alert motorists and toll-gate officials because after that point, for some time,there are not many places where vehicles are asked to stop. It appears the driver was under the influence of alcohol when this incident occurred,” said the police official.
Ola meanwhile has released a statement that said, “We are deeply disturbed to know about the incident. The cab involved has been removed from our platform. We are extending all needed support to the customer. Additionally, we are also engaging with the police to lend assistance in their ongoing investigation.”
The incident comes just over a month after a Bengaluru-based architect was allegedly held held hostage, forcibly made to disrobe and had nude photos clicked by an Ola driver. The driver also threatened to call his friends and gang-rape her. On that occasion too, the victim was heading to the airport late in the night.
Recently, an Ola spokesperson confirmed to TNM that drivers are not formally trained on subjects like gender sensitivity and sexual harassment but are provided “online modules” which they must go through. The terms and conditions for Ola’s partners/cab fleet mention a ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ – except it does not mention sexual harassment.