Three days ahead of the deadline given by the auto rickshaw drivers’ union in Pune to go on an indefinite strike until bike taxis were stopped in the city, officials of the Pune Regional Transport Office have lodged an FIR against the city manager of bike taxi service Rapido.
On Thursday, RTO officials lodged a police complaint against Jagdish Patil, manager of Rapido for Pune city, at the Bundgarden police station.
Patil and other officials of Roppen Transportation Services Private Limited, which owns Rapido, have been booked under Section 418 (for cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may ensue to person whose interest offender is bound to protect) of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 66, 93, 192 (A), 146, 193 and 197 of the Motor Vehicles Act and 66D of the Information Technology Act.
Pune Regional Transport Officer Ajit Shinde said that the FIR has been filed as the company was violating various laws.
The move comes at a time when the Pune RTO has been facing pressure from autorickshaw drivers’ unions, who allege that the bike taxis are eating into their business.
‘Bhaghtoy Rikshawala’, a forum of autorickshaw drivers with support from several auto rickshaw unions, had announced earlier that bike taxis, which operate in a policy vacuum in the state, were operating “illegally” and demanded that RTO officials step up action against them so that they stay off the roads.
Under pressure, RTO officials have conducted several drives against the bike taxis – especially Rapido – in the last few years and have seized hundreds of bikes (for a month) used by the firms. The RTO team also slaps a fine of Rs 10,000 on offenders.
“The RTO officials approached us with a complaint on Thursday night. We are investigating the case and no arrest has been made so far,” Senior Police Inspector Pratap Mankar of Bundgarden police station said.