A woman was assaulted by a taxi driver on Tuesday evening for refusing to pay Rs 10 extra.
The 21-year-old resident of Chowbhaga hailed a taxi at Chingrihata around 6.30pm to go to Panchannagram near VIP Bazaar on the EM Bypass. The driver allegedly grabbed her by the collar of her shirt when she refused to shell out anything more than the fare.
The passenger was forced to get off in front of Silver Spring on the Bypass. Based on a complaint lodged by her, the rogue driver was arrested the same night.
Police identified the driver as Pradip Das, 45, a resident of Kasba.
Barely a few minutes into the journey, Das had started demanding extra money. “The driver said he would need Rs 10 extra as the fuel prices are soaring,” said an officer of Pragati Maidan police station, where the complaint was filed.
The price of diesel — the fuel of choice for taxis in the city — was hiked by 50 paise earlier this month.
The woman refused to pay more but wasn’t prepared for what awaited her. “The driver stopped the car in front of Silver Spring, turned back and grabbed the woman by her collar. She started shouting and managed to free herself,” the officer said.
Despite being in shock, the woman noted the taxi’s registration number before the vehicle sped away. She then called up her father and waited for him. When he arrived, she went to Pragati Maidan police station with him and filed a complaint.
“Based on the complaint, we have arrested the driver, who has been booked under Section 354B of the Indian Penal Code,” said deputy commissioner (south east division) Debabrata Das.
Section 354B of the IPC deals with punishment for disrobing or attempting to disrobe a woman in a public place. A person prosecuted under this section is imprisoned for three to seven years.
A senior officer in the traffic department said it was “illegal” to charge more than the fare. “The rule says passengers boarding a taxi after 10.30pm have to pay a night charge, which is 15 per cent of the fare. No driver can charge extra before that,” the officer said.
Two men who protested taxi refusal at the Esplanade crossing on Monday evening were allegedly assaulted and chased by a group of rogue drivers. The victims alleged that a cop on duty did nothing to help them.