Diva police arrests 5 for murder of Ola-driver, protests follow

Cab-driver unions condemn the company for failing to protect its employees

murder of Ola-driver

Four adults and one minor boy were arrested on May 30, 2022 for the alleged murder of Ola-cab driver Muhammad Ali in Diva, Thane over the weekend. While the news came as some relief to the victim’s family, the drivers’ union condemned the company for tampering with the driver’s records.

According to Shil Daighar police Inspector Ramchandra Mohite, the accused Atish Bhosale, Omkar Kasekar, Harshul Sheikh, Prashant Periaswami and one minor were in an inebriated state when they attacked the 27-year-old driver. The group booked a cab ride from Ambernath to Diva. However, Ali’s body was found near a gutter bridge on May 29 in a half-naked state. Many valuables including his mobile phone and money were missing.

murder of Ola-driver

murder of Ola-driver

As for the vehicle, it remained in the same location until Sunday morning when a local farmer from Padlegaav found the body. 52-year-old Balkrishna Patil found the youth’s body near his field on an RCC bridge. In his report to the police, he spoke of dried blood on the body’s head and a blood-stained paver block nearby.

“I found the body in a half-naked state near my field. He had injuries near his buttocks. I immediately called Phadkepada police station [at around 9:30 AM],” said Patil.

The police found the Maruti vehicle around 60-70 m away from the place. All windows of the vehicle were open. Maharashtra App Based Union Transport Workers President Prashant Sawardekar said Ali was on his third or fourth ride on May 28 when the Ola operator noticed that the vehicle had stopped moving.

However, the union condemned the Ola company for covering up this information by ‘flashing’ Ali’s records for the day. According to Sawardekar, flashing is when the records of a driver’s daily work are erased.

“This is a matter of social security code. The company regularly flashes drivers and blacklists them,” said Sawardekar.

Although unmarried, Ali came to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh. He lived alone in Kurla and worked as an Ola cab driver for nearly two years. The union has promised its full support to the family in getting justice in the matter.

The union estimated that around five such cab-driver deaths have occurred in the recent past although the exact locations of the deaths are yet to be confirmed. Still, the union demanded that the company take responsibility for their employees’ security.

As such, they have called for a protest on March 31 near the Shil Daighar police station to demand the administration’s attention in the matter. Sawardekar said that nearly 50 drivers will gather to talk about continued denial of their basic labour rights.


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