Uber felt Delhi rape case was Ola’s ploy; Ola calls it ‘all-time low’
Photo Credit: Reuters

Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc. has reportedly fired Eric Alexander, president of the company’s Asia-Pacific business, for obtaining and keeping medical records of the 26-year-old woman who was raped in an Uber cab in Delhi in 2014.

A person in the know of things at Uber India confirmed the development to VCCircle.

Recode said, citing multiple people, that Alexander showed these medical documents, which were part of a criminal investigation, to Uber’s co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick and senior vice president Emil Michael. Soon after, all three began to raise the prospect that Ola — Uber’s key competitor in India — was behind the incident to sabotage the company and the woman's version may not be true, the report went on to say.

Besides, several executives at the company were either told about the records or shown them by the trio.

The New York Times reported that Alexander, based in Hong Kong, was a longtime confidant of Michael and one of Kalanick’s most trusted lieutenants. The three once attended a South Korean escort bar together, the paper reported, citing two people familiar with the medical records matter.

Ola, however, slammed this alleged view of top Uber executives. A company spokesperson told VCCircle in an emailed statement:

"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."

In the rape case in question, the 32-year-old driver was arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

In an emailed statement to VCCircle, Uber India head Amit Jain said, “The 2014 crime in Delhi was absolutely horrific...Uber responded by working closely with law enforcement and the prosecution to support their investigation and see the perpetrator brought to justice. We have taken significant steps to improve our safety processes and policies in recent years to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the app.”

Alexander is, however, not among the 20 employees fired by Uber on Wednesday following a report by law firm Perkins Coie, which the company hired to look into claims of harassment, discrimination, bullying and other employee concerns.

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