Uber sues Ola for hurting business through fake accounts

App-based cab service Uber has moved the Delhi High Court alleging that rival Ola is trying to hurt its business, in what could be the ugly battle for dominance in India’s cab business between the two.

Uber in its plea alleged that Ola had set up fake rider accounts and booked rides on Uber platform using phone numbers to which calls cannot be made.

Uber in its plea alleged that Ola had set up fake rider accounts and booked rides on Uber platform using phone numbers to which calls cannot be made, according to a source aware of the case. “Consequently, drivers wait for 10-15 minutes before cancelling the trip resulting in cancellation charges to be borne by Uber and driver churn,” according to Uber’s petition, he added.

Ola strongly denied the allegations and made counter claims against Uber.

“All the allegations made by Uber in the plaint listed for hearing before High Court of Delhi are denied in their entirety and we have appraised the Court accordingly that the allegations by Uber are frivolous and false to its own knowledge,” Ola said in a statement.

“We can only speculate that this is a counter to the contempt proceedings pending against Uber in this Hon’ble High Court. It is not beyond our imagination that this is an effort to divert attention from the current realities of the market, where Uber has faced major setbacks including the recent incidents of Uber vehicles being seized by the Government authorities. We stand by our contempt petition that Uber has added and plying new diesel vehicles within Delhi in willful and deliberate defiance of the local rules and regulations,” it added.

Uber declined to comment saying the matter is subjudice.

The latest development comes at a time when US-based Uber and Indian-born Ola have been making tall claims about market supremacy.

As per media reports, Eric Alexander, president of business in Asia for Uber, said this month that the company’s India unit will become bigger than Ola in less than a month. “In January last year, we were at 5% market share. Now we are right at the edge of 50%. I would say that within the next 30 days we would beat them (Ola). We will surpass them very, very shortly,” he was quoted as saying.

Last year, Ola’s biggest shareholder SoftBank claimed that the firm had 85 per cent market share, as of June 30. SoftBank disclosure was made in a regulatory filing with the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick in his recent visit to India had said that the firm’s market share had jumped to nearly 40 per cent from just 4-5% in January 2015.