New Delhi: With one of its delivery boys being arrested in connection with murder of Hindu group leader Kamlesh Tiwari, online food ordering platform Zomato on Wednesday said it has zero tolerance for anyone breaking the law and the guilty should be dealt with swiftly.
Zomato was trolled online after the anti-terrorism squad of the Gujarat police arrested two alleged killers, Ashfaq Hussain and Moinuddin Pathan, from a location near the state's border with Rajasthan.
Users questioned Zomato, which had a couple of months back publicly shamed a bigot customer refusing delivery by a Muslim rider, for the role of its employee in the murder of Hindu Samaj Party leader. They sought safety assurance from the company.
Reached for comments, a Zomato spokesperson said Pathan had on-boarded onto Zomato platform on August 17, 2019, in Surat after "a background check" including review of his Aadhaar card, driving license, PAN card, and past court records, by an independent agency. He made last delivery on October 6, "post which he ceased to work on our platform of his own volition," the spokesperson said.
"Zomato is a law-abiding and responsible company. We have pledged our complete support to the concerned authorities and will readily assist them in the investigation," the spokesperson said. "We have protocols in place for onboarding delivery partners which include a thorough check for any past court records and even if there is a single red-flag, the concerned person does not make it to our fleet."
Zomato said the safety and well being of its customers is and will continue to be of paramount importance to the company. "Zomato has zero-tolerance for anyone breaking law. We wish that the guilty are dealt with in accordance with law swiftly."
On Twitter, Zomato was trolled with one user comparing the bigot incident of late July with the Pathan being arrested for Kamlesh Tiwari's murder, saying the "reason for the murder was religious hate. A few days back u canceled an order when sm1 wanted food delivery by a Hindu guy. Could u plz assure ur customers r in safe hands".
Another user saw the arrest as another reason for "not trusting Zomato, Swiggy, etc".
According to police, the two accused killed the Hindu group leader to avenge certain statements against Prophet Mohammad that he had purportedly made in the past.
The two accused - one of whom was wearing a saffron kurta - reportedly met Kamlesh Tiwari at his Lucknow residence on October 18 on the pretext of gifting Diwali sweets and discussing political matters. However, once inside his home, the accused allegedly slit his throat and shot him before escaping.
"We recently learnt that one Moinuddinahmed Pathan has been detained by the Gujarat Police in connection with the murder of Mr Kamlesh Tiwari in Lucknow. It has also been brought to our notice that he was a delivery boy on the Zomato platform.
"Our internal investigations have revealed that the said person had been on-boarded onto the Zomato platform on August 17, 2019, in Surat. Prior to his onboarding, a background check (including a check of his Aadaar card, driving license, PAN Card and past court records) had been carried out on him by an independent agency in which his background check was clear. Between that date and October 6, 2019, he had worked on and off as a delivery person on our platform. All his deliveries were in Surat as he was based there," the Zomato spokesperson said.
Stating that post-October 6, Pathan had ceased to work on Zomato of his own volition, the spokesperson said: "Delivery boys on the Zomato platform are independent freelancers".