A former Uber driver in Delhi was sentenced to life in prison today for his rape of a passenger in 2014—a crime that sparked international outrage and jeopardized the ride-sharing service’s business in India.
Shiv Kumar Yadav reportedly hid his criminal record—including previous sexual assault charges—to obtain his job as a driver for Uber in the summer of 2014. Approximately six months later, on December 5, a 25 year-old woman got in his car for an Uber ride home after a night out with her friends. Hours later, she went to the police to report that she had fallen asleep during the ride and then Yadav had parked the car in a secluded area, raped her, and threatened her before taking her home.
Her story garnered worldwide headlines, shattering any illusions customers may have held about Uber’s guarantees of security and comfort. How and why Uber approved Yadav’s hiring without a background check was distressingly unclear, and the US-based company was subsequently banned from operating in Delhi (that ban was lifted in July 2015). Certain details from the victim’s account of the incident reminded the public of a brutal and fatal gang-rape of a medical student on a bus in 2012, prompting a broader debate about sexual assault in India.
Yadav was prosecuted in one of Delhi’s “fast track” courts, created specifically to deal with sexual assault cases. The court’s guilty verdict on October 20, 2015—on four different charges, including rape and intimidation—carried with it a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum life sentence. Yadav’s lawyer said his client plans to appeal.