Yatti Soni | Bengaluru, May 12 | Updated on: May 12, 2022

Issue revolves around sharing of electric vehicle’s telemetry details

Ola has denied a claim made by a customer, Balwant Singh, that it had published his son’s personal data in a press release. Now his son Reetam says he will approach the Supreme Court to file a case against Ola for “selling defective scooters”

On April 22, in response to tweets in which Singh alleged that his son was involved in an accident due to a fault in Ola scooter, the electric vehicle maker had released a press statement, saying, “We did a thorough investigation of the accident and the data clearly shows that the rider was overspeeding throughout the night and that he braked in a panic, thereby losing control of the vehicle. There is nothing wrong with the vehicle.”

On April 23, Singh objected to the use of his e-scooter telemetry data in the EV manufacturer’s press statement. He said the data was publicly shared without his consent and authentication, and demanded its removal from the company’s social media accounts.

To this, Ola replied, “Ola respectfully controverts and expressly denies the contentions raised by you (Balwant Singh) and brings to your notice that the Telematics Data as published does not constitute personally identifiable data or sensitive personal data and the company did not disclose any personally identifiable or sensitive personal data or information.”

“It is unfortunate to note that despite the above stated set of facts and circumstances; and further despite detailed data that clearly alludes to the usage of the vehicle outside statutory limits, usage advisory and above all in an absolutely unsafe manner, you have since April 15, 2022 continued to make baseless, false, negative, derogatory, derisive comments in relation to Ola scooter and company,” Ola added.

When contacted, Reetam told BusinessLine, “Ola’s press release on the Guhawati incident [site of the accident] identified Balwant Singh’s son in the first paragraph itself (‘We send our heartful wishes to Mr. Balwant Singh’s son…’). This shows that the data has not been shared anonymously and Ola has, in fact, identified the person driving the scooter.” 

Stating that the legal notice from Ola blames him for driving beyond statutorily permitted speed, he says, “If it is not statutorily permitted, why are you selling and advertising ‘hyper mode’ and ‘hyper delivery’? This is like the drug dealer blaming the drug addict for drug addiction, when in the first place they shouldn’t be selling the drugs.” 

‘Will approach Supreme Court’

Beyond the sharing of telematic data, Reetam wants to take up the issue of “Ola selling defective scooters to customers”. He says he will join with other discontented customers to file a case in the Supreme Court. 

Just yesterday, a customer from Jaipur, Pallav Maheshwari, said in a Linkedin post that his father was severely injured because of an alleged bug in the Ola scooter software that made it reverse at full speed. 

“Bhavish Agarwal has clearly suppressed facts, misled customers and falsified information to keep on selling a dangerous product. This is no longer a financial crime but a serious IPC offence under Criminal Conspiracy (120A),196 (using evidence that is false), 200, 202, 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 286, 287, 322 (voluntarily causing grevious hurt), 336-338 (act endangering the life of others), 415 (cheating), 422, 436 (mischief by fire), 468 (forgery for cheating), 469, 470 and 477,” Reetam said. 

The other issues he alleges are defective manufacturing, and false advertisement of a maximum range of 135 km when the scooter only goes up to 75 km, among others. He also wants the company to publicly declare how many of the 51,000 scooters it has delivered have returned to the workshop due to faulty working.

Published on May 12, 2022