Indian Origin Uber Driver Charged with Kidnapping Woman Passenger in U.S., Faces Life Term
Harbir Parmar has been charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of wire fraud.
An Indian origin Uber driver has been charged with kidnapping a woman passenger in the United States and faces a maximum sentence of life term in prison if convicted. He allegedly groped the passenger and left her on the side of a highway in Connecticut, reported PTI.
24-year old Harbir Parmar of Howard Beach, New York is charged with one count of kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to a statement released by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York on Oct.16.
According to the allegations, on Feb. 21 this year, the victim took the cab from Manhattan to her residence in White Plains, both in New York, around 11.30 pm. She fell asleep on the backseat of the vehicle during the trip. In the meantime, Parmar changed her destination in Uber App to an address in Boston, Massachusetts and continued to drive toward the newly added destination.
When the victim woke up, she found the cab stationary and Parmar sitting on the backseat with her and his hand under her shirt touching her breast. After seeing her awake, Parmar went back to the driving seat and continued to drive, according to the statement.
The woman asked Parmar to drop her to White Plains or to take her nearby police station, but he refused and dropped her on the side of Highway I-95 in Branford, Connecticut. She reported this incident with Uber and found that her credit card was charged $1,047.55 for a trip to Massachusetts.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said that the woman had hired Parmar to drop her at her home in White Plains. “Instead, Parmar kidnapped, terrorized, and assaulted the woman before dumping her on the side of an interstate. No one – man or woman – should fear such an attack when they simply hire a car service,” he said about the allegations.
William F. Sweeney Jr., FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge said, “The victim in this case utilized a ride sharing service trusting that her driver would provide a safe ride home. Instead, as we allege today, Harbir Parmar made an outrageous choice, deciding to unlawfully take advantage of his passenger at a moment of vulnerability for his own selfish motives.”
Parmar is also accused of sending false information regarding drop points of Uber’s customers through its app on at least 11 occasions between Dec.2016 and February 2018. He also sent false information about the application of a cleaning fee to be applied to the accounts of Uber’s passengers on at least three times. In these instances, Uber’s customers had filed complaints with the company about being overcharged for their rides.
Associated Press cited Uber as saying that it had blocked Parmar on its app immediately after it got information about this alleged kidnapping. “What’s been reported is horrible and something no person should go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this individual’s access to the platform. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to support their investigation,” Uber said in a statement.