A Delhi Police official said there was no occasion for the team investigating the 2014 rape of an Uber passenger to share her medical records with company executive Eric Alexander as the latter was only a witness. Another official said he didn’t see any reason why the police should resist an inquiry into how he got the medical records, adding that it might have been obtained from the cab driver.
The woman has sued the cab aggregator in the US for illegally obtaining her medical records and said this was done as part of an attempt to “defame” her.
In a suit demanding a jury trial filed in a California court, she said that Asia-Pacific head Alexander got the medical reports from Delhi Police and “carried them in a briefcase and waved the reports around Uber offices.” Alexander is no longer with Uber.
“Shockingly, it is not possible to estimate the number of times that Alexander waved the victim’s medical information around Uber offices during this time period,” the suit states. Alexander and others at Uber retained a “physical copy of plaintiff ‘s medical records until in or around December 2015,” it says.
Deputy commissioner of police Madhur Verma told ET: “Alexander was a mere witness in the case. He had nothing do with the medical records of the victim.” Hence, Verma added, there was no occasion for the investigating officer of the case to share the medical reports with Alexander.
Another senior Delhi cop, requesting anonymity, indicated the possibility of Alexander getting the reports from the accused. “Since the charge sheet was filed in less than 20 days, a copy (of the medical reports) was submitted to the court which subsequently would have been supplied to the accused. There is a possibility that Alexander may have obtained the reports from the cab driver.”
When asked if Delhi Police would hold an internal investigation to find out if anyone in the department shared the medical reports with Alexander, the person said he was unaware of the suit filed in California.
But he added: “I see no reason why the Delhi Police will shy away from holding an inquiry if there is a complaint filed in this regard. We have not received any complaint so far. The complainant is welcome to submit a complaint if she so desires.”
The suit also mentions Uber founder Travis Kalanick and his close associate Emil Michael.
“Defendants Kalanick, Alexander and Michael made numerous statements to each other and other employees at Uber that the plaintiff was fraudulently claiming that she had been raped in collusion with a rival of Uber,” it says.
Kalanick has gone on leave and Michael has quit in the wake of an inquiry into cover-ups of harassment and discrimination cases. The driver was convicted and sentenced to life in 2015. Uber did not respond to queries.
The suit says Alexander got the documents from Delhi Police.
“Uber’s goal of dominating and controlling the emerging ridehailing market at the expense of a healthy workplace culture free of unlawful invasions of privacy and discrimination is a calculated decision made by senior executives that continues through the present,” the suit reads.
It adds “by rewarding employees who perform, regardless of complaints of discrimination, unlawful behaviour or unethical practices, Uber has created an unrestrained untenable work environment that permits and even encourages employees to engage in shocking and inappropriate behaviour”.
It further states: “From the highest levels of the company including the board level, Uber makes an intentional decision to look the other way when hiring and supervising its executives, essentially letting them ‘run wild’ so long as new business ventures continue to succeed and profits continue to roll in.”