Cab aggregator Uber on Tuesday filed a petition in Delhi high court accusing arch-rival Ola’s employees of disrupting its business by creating over 93,000 false rider accounts using Uber’s platform and using them to register over 4 lakh fake bookings only to cancel them at the last minute.
The American firm said the disruptions had led to losses of Rs 50 crore and claimed the same amount as damages from Ola. Justice Vipin Sanghi issued a notice to Ola and asked the company to file its response within four weeks even as its lawyer strongly denied the allegations as baseless and frivolous.
Scheduling the next hearing for September 14, the HC noted, “Counsel for defendants (Ola and its subsidiary Serendipity Cabs) state they have not done anything to interfere with plaintiff’s (Uber) business as alleged… nor has any intention of doing so. Defendants, their agents and employees shall abide by this statement.” The HC also directed Uber to file its rejoinder to Ola’s reply a further four weeks after it is submitted.
In its petition, Uber has further claimed to have paid over Rs 5 lakh as cancellation charges and alleged that by making false bookings, Ola was “squatting” on cabs associated with Uber. It added that over 4 lakh bookings have been made and cancelled by Ola employees across the country in a systematic manner, with more than 50,000 such alleged incidents in Delhi alone, from August last year till March.
Due to these reasons, Uber claimed, more than 23,000 drivers had left the company and that Ola was trying to “stifle the competition in an irregular manner”. Uber has also alleged that Ola exploited a “loophole” in its system by using data-only numbers – to which calls cannot be made – to create multiple fake accounts and has sought damages due to cancellations, investment made on drivers who have left, trip fare and reputation.
Justice Singhvi then pointed out that if indeed such a loophole exists, Uber must fix it.