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Uber driver gets life term for rape, survivor has ‘moved on’, says father

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday sentenced Uber cab driver Shiv Kumar Yadav to life imprisonment till (natural) death for raping a woman executive in his taxi 11 months ago.

Yadav raped a woman executive on 5 December last year. The survivor, who had difficulty sleeping and was tormented by fear after the rape, has now moved on to a new life and is married and settling down, her father told reporters. She married her fiancé a month ago; she was engaged before the rape on 5 December, the woman’s father said.

“Convict (Yadav) is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment till his remaining natural life for the offence under section 376 (2)(m) (committing rape causes grievous bodily harm) of the IPC,” the judge said and also imposed a fine of Rs 21,000 on him.

The court also directed the Delhi Legal Services Authority to give compensation to the survivor and to take care of the family of the convict.

Moments after pronouncement of the judgment, Yadav, his wife, father and two minor daughters started crying inconsolably. His wailing wife also fainted in the courtroom.

The judgment handing out life imprisonment comes  two weeks after the court convicted him in the case. The court had found that there was sufficient evidence against Yadav and that all prosecution witnesses had supported the case against him. The court had convicted him under sections relating to rape, abduction, criminal intimidation and causing hurt.

In December last year, a 27-year-old woman was raped in an Uber taxi, which she had hired to return home from a dinner party in Gurgaon.

According to the police, the woman had dozed off on the back seat of the car, and she later woke up to find that the car had stopped at a secluded spot. When she tried to raise an alarm, the driver is said to have assaulted and raped her.

The driver Yadav was arrested on 7 December, 2014 from Mathura and is currently in judicial custody.

The Supreme Court had earlier set aside the Delhi High Court order allowing the accused to re-examine 13 prosecution witnesses, including the survivor.

After Yadav was arrested, it came to light that he had a history of alleged sexual assault and had five cases of sexual assault registered against him.

After the incident, the Delhi government had banned several app-based companies and had cancelled the licence application of Uber. However, the government act of cancelling the licence was set aside by the Delhi High Court.

Last month, the woman voluntarily ended her lawsuit against Uber in a US court, which she had filed in January, according to a Reuters report. This was after Uber argued that the driver had a contract with Uber BV, a Netherlands-based entity which had no US operations.

The survivor’s family expressed satisfaction but said repeat offenders must never get bail for such crime.

“I am highly satisfied with the verdict of the sessions court that sentenced the driver to life imprisonment within 10 months of the start of hearing,” the father of the rape survivor told IANS.

The father, in his mid-50’s, told IANS: “He deserves nothing less than life imprisonment.

“He was a repeat offender and was involved in seven criminal cases, including under Arms Act, Goonda Act and rape. Such repeat offenders should not be given bail.”

The father — who did not want his name to be disclosed — said if the driver had not been bailed for his earlier crimes, his daughter, his only child, would not have been raped by Yadav.

“People like him take advantage of our law with the help of lawyers and get bail.

“After getting bail, they indulge in crime again as they know how to tackle the law.”

The father said he and other family members had decided not to discuss the December rape ever again with their daughter.

“I do not even want to share the news of the driver’s life term with her. If she learns about it through the news, it’s another matter,” he said.

He said he tried to keep his daughter away from the court proceedings, and visited the court on every hearing himself.

“A few days after the incident, I sent her out of the country. I never discussed the court proceedings with her.”

The Indian Express reports that the survivor is now married and settling down to a new life abroad with her husband. The survivor’s father will be visiting her soon, the newspaper reports.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Madhur Verma, who was heading the case from the beginning, expressed his happiness over the verdict. “Finally justice has been delivered.

“It’s symbolic justice, and it will put fear into the heart of such criminals,” Verma told IANS.

“The positive point of the case was that not even one witness turned hostile.”

He said initially there was not much support from Uber as their support system was based in the US.

“But later they helped the probe by providing necessary inputs such as the routes taken by the driver.”

Uber welcomed Tuesday’s sentencing.

IANS

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