Policemen escort driver Shiv Kumar Yadav who is accused of a rape outside a court in New Delhi
Policemen escort driver Shiv Kumar Yadav (in black jacket) who is accused of a rape outside a court in New Delhi December 8, 2014. U.S. online ride-hailing service Uber has been banned from operating in the Indian capital after a female passenger accused one of its drivers of rape, a case that has reignited a debate about the safety of women in the South Asian nation. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Uber is apparently undermining transport inspectors across Australia by blocking mobile phone services. The web based taxi service was earlier banned in India.

UberX drivers reportedly use private vehicles such as unlicensed taxis in order to accept passengers who request a vehicle through Uber's smartphone app. UberX is already banned in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Any driver who is caught collecting passengers through the service can be fined up to $1,700. Drivers are generally fined on the spot when transport inspectors perform undercover investigations after downloading the Uber app using government-issued mobile phones to book a ride. ABC News has obtained emails which reveal that UberX is blocking the mobile phones of transport inspectors from accessing their service. The emails, which have been obtained under Queensland's Right To Information laws, disclose that Uber is suspending all corresponding Uber accounts of the mobile phones of transport inspectors.

The West Australian reported in December 2014 that a State Government crackdown was going to ask more than 40 vehicle owners and drivers linked to UberX to hand over their financial records. Uber Black drivers suffered 30 cautions and 11 infringements. On one occasion when a transport inspector managed to contact Uber so that he could ask why their accounts had been suspended, "suspicious activity" was cited as the reason. A customer service representative said that the system had "picked up unusual activity linked" to the account. The representative also said that the accounts would remain banned as those were "under investigation." He also said that things would be sorted only after the company got "to the bottom of it."

Nick Marsden from the Department of Transport and Main Roads says in one of the emails that inspectors need to buy new mobile phones and credit cards while activating new Gmail accounts so that they can perform more number of undercover raids. "Due to blocking by Uber, only two covert rides were undertaken [today]," Marsden says, "Time was spent purchasing new credit cards, activating gmail accounts, and setting up two more phones." Marsden sent the email to his colleagues in August 2014. He also says in the email that additional units need to be ordered as there are only a few left.

Uber was banned in the Indian capital New Delhi in December after a Uber driver had been accused of kidnapping and raping a passenger. The driver, who had reportedly taken the passenger to a secluded area and raped, was formally charged with "criminal intimidation" on Jan 13.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au