Taxi-hailing app Ola hit out at rival ‘Uber’ after the latter fired its Asia Pacific business head who had allegedly obtained medical records of a 26-year-old woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India in 2014. The expelled Eric Alexander alleged that Ola was behind the incident to sabotage Uber's India business.
has described Uber
as "despicable" and "low on morality" following a report that claims the American firm badly mishandled the rape
of a customer in 2014.
In a statement on Thursday Ola
said, "It is a shame that the privacy and morals of a woman have to be questioned in an attempt to trivialise a horrific crime. It is despicable that anyone can even conceive an attempt to malign competition using this as an opportunity. If this report were to be even remotely true, this is an all-time low on morality and a reflection of the very character of an organisation”, Ola
Alexander showed the confidential information of the medical report to chief executive
officer Travis Kalanick and SVP Emil Michael, who, with their timid knowledge of the medical report, believed that the woman’s story was concocted and not true and that prime competitor Ola
was behind the complaints, said the reports by Recode, a technology news
Despite the case being a criminal investigation, Alexander kept the documents for over a year before other executives allegedly got to know of it and destroyed it. In that time, Alexander showed the report to CEO
Travis Kalanick and SVP Emil Michael, apart from numerous other executives, who tried to poke holes in the woman’s claims of being raped by her Uber
of the 26-year-old woman being raped by her Uber
driver in Delhi
had led to massive repercussions for the company, which was later banned by the Delhi
government. The issue had brought up serious questions about the safety of ride-hailing services, with people pointing fingers at Uber
for being so lax about driver background checks.
The victim later settled with Uber
for a reported $3 million, reports said.
Alexander’s handling of the situation in India
is one of the 215 claims that law firms Perkins Coie and Covington & Burling are investigating at Uber.
These range from misconduct, sexism and sexual harassment, for which Uber
even told employees it has fired 20 people so far and another 100 are still being investigated or have seen some type of action.
The NYT report said employees were surprised to learn that Alexander was not one among the 20 employees who were fired. More disturbing is that he was only let go once reporters began asking questions about his actions, despite Kalanick and several other high-level executives having knowledge of what he had done.
The incident in Delhi
in December 2014 led to several widespread changes for India’s ride-hailing sector. While only Uber
was implicated, even Ola
faced the heat when the Delhi
government banned all ride-hailing services in the city.
A few other cities followed suit, leading both Uber
to improve their background verification methods, introduce SOS buttons within their apps and even physical buttons in the cars themselves. However, instances of violence
by drivers of Uber
cabs do continue to crop up intermittently despite this.