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Uber banned from India's capital after alleged rape

The ride-sharing service faces a new round of allegations, and now has been blacklisted by the Delhi government, which says Uber was misleading customers.

San Francisco-based Uber is in some trouble in india.Photo by Uber

The long list of challenges facing Uber has now extended to India.

The ride-sharing service has been banned from India's capital territory of Delhi after the report of an alleged rape late Friday.

"The services of Uber have been blacklisted, Delhi's special commissioner for the city's Transport Department, Satish Mathur, told the India Times on Monday. Mathur charged that Uber is "misleading customers."

According to Mathur, Uber drivers in Delhi had All India Permit Taxi licenses. While those would be enough to get people around other parts of India, Mathur said that the permit does not apply to Delhi and that Uber has therefore been operating "illegally," the India Times reported.

The allegation and the ban mark yet another challenging moment for 5-year-old, San Francisco-based Uber, which has battled incumbent taxi services and bureaucracies in cities around the world and has also faced charges of assaults on passengers by its drivers.

In this latest incident, a woman in her mid-twenties alleged that she was sexually assaulted and beaten by an Uber driver after requesting a car late Friday night. The driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, was arrested in his hometown, Mathura, approximately 100 miles from Delhi.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick called the alleged assault "despicable."

"What happened over the weekend in New Delhi is horrific," Kalanick said in a statement posted on Sunday to his company's blog. "Our entire team's hearts go out to the victim of this despicable crime. We will do everything, I repeat, everything to help bring this perpetrator to justice and to support the victim and her family in her recovery."

The blog post also indicated that Uber intends to help Indian officials establish appropriate procedures for who can operate transportation services. Delhi police said that Uber failed to conduct a background check before allowing Yadav to join the car service.

"We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs," Kalanick said.

A willingness to work with city governments has sometimes been absent from Uber's track record. On Friday, for instance, Uber began operations in Portland, Ore., even though city officials have deemed the service illegal. Officials there said they're ready to issue civil and criminal penalties against the company and its drivers.

Last month, Uber shut down its service in Nevada over "confusion" about its business model, as it looks for a legal way to resume business in the state.

Just four days ago, Kalanick had issued a pledge that the company will work hard to heal its badly bruised reputation and become a " Uber, he said, would work toward new standards in data privacy, give back more in cities where it operates and refine its company culture.

That vow came in the same statement in which Uber said that it had just raised a $1.2 billion round of funding that could put its total valuation as high as $40 billion. Already operating in more than 250 cities in 50 countries, Uber plans to use the new funding to move into new markets in the Asia Pacific region.

On Monday, Uber did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment. Kalanick did, however, say in his Sunday blog post that he will work with the Indian government to develop technologies that will "make New Delhi a safer city for women."

Meanwhile, the Indian government indicated that it is still playing catch-up regarding the ride-sharing service.

"Right now, we have banned Uber as we came to know only after this incident about its services in Delhi," Mathur told the India Times. "We too had to log on to the Internet to know how the company works."

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