Uber cab driver in India arrested after suspected rape
A woman passenger in Kolkata has alleged that an Uber driver was masturbating while driving her in the cityReuters

An Uber driver has been arrested in India for masturbating while driving a woman passenger.

The incident occurred in Kolkata, the capital of the eastern state of West Bengal, when the 25-year-old passenger booked the cab on 8 July.

In her police complaint, the woman alleged that the driver was masturbating while driving her from Elgin Road to Netajinagar in the posh Tollygunj area.

The woman, who works at a mall in south Kolkata, alleged that the driver deliberately took a detour instead of taking a shorter route and when she protested, the driver started threatening her.

No sooner had she lodged the complaint than police tracked down the driver and arrested him on 20 July.

The Hindustan Times quoted a senior police officer as saying: "We have arrested the driver and an investigation is on."

The driver has been booked under provisions of the Indian Penal Code related to criminal intimidation and molestation and was granted bail by a court later.

In a similar incident earlier in the month, a woman in New Delhi had alleged that a TaxiForSure cab driver had masturbated while driving her around the city.

Meanwhile, the newspaper quoted an Uber official as saying: "[The driver] had all valid documentation and had cleared the independent background check."

"Upon being notified by the rider we immediately suspended the driver partner and assisted the local authorities with all necessary information required for their investigation. In fact, the rider was satisfied with our immediate assistance and action and continues to frequently use Uber post this alleged incident," said Uber's general manager in Kolkata Ashwin Dias.

Uber has been involved in a series of incidents in India and around the world, including the alleged rape of a woman by a driver in Delhi in December 2014. The incident led to an uproar across the country, forcing authorities to initiate steps to regulate app-based cab services.

On 15 July, a court in California imposed a $7.3m (£4.6m, €6.6m) fine on the taxi-app firm for not disclosing enough information about its operations to regulators, besides recommending suspension of its operations across the state.