BJP leader accused of rape in moving bus after CCTV footage goes viral, held

Updated: Jul 07, 2017, 11:45 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Nagpur

In an instance that was caught on camera, a BJP leader Ravindra Bawanthade from Maharashtra was caught kissing his former 19-year-old student in a bus. He was arrested on Wednesday

BJP leader accused of rape in moving after CCTV footage goes viralScreengrab of the CCTV footage

In an instance that was caught on camera, a BJP leader Ravindra Bawanthade from Maharashtra was caught kissing his former 19-year-old student in a bus. He was arrested on Wednesday.

The incident happened on June 27 last month on a Gadchiroli-bound bus where 48-year-old allegedly forced himself on the student.

The CCTV camera located at the back of the bus recorded the incident from which the driver and his cleaners recorded the video from mobile phones. The duo soon made the video viral on social media.

The FIR in the matter states that it was the second time Bawanthade had forced himself on the survivor. She has claimed before police that Bawanthade had earlier tried to molest her in his car. According to The Times Of India, this time, the survivor was lured to come along with him to the city after Ravindra promised her job in a hospital in Nagpur. It was on their way back, Ravindra seemed to have forced himself upon her between Bhiwapur and Nagbhid.

The woman alleged that the BJP leader had promised her a job and assured marriage, despite being married, before raping her in the back seat of the bus that was packed with other passengers. Surprisingly none of the passengers realised what was happening on the back seat. When the conductor spotted the two in compromising position, the BJP leader claimed that he was trying to attend her as she was not feeling well. Ther conductor didn't buy the idea and alerted the bus driver.

In her complaint, the woman has alleged that Bawanthade took her to Nagpur after promising her a job and sexually assaulted her inside the bus on return.

The victim is a former student of the school where Bawanthade is a teacher. Madavi said the former BJP leader was arrested on charges of rape and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.

The accused was produced before a local court on Tuesday which remanded him in two-day police custody, the police said.

According to the police, the video clip was circulated on social media after being played on a computer in the private travels office following which three more arrests were made in the case. The arrested trio--bus driver Sharangdhar Ramteke, bus cleaner Rakesh Khobragade and helper Nitin Sahare--allegedly copied the clip from the original footage and circulated it, Madavi said, adding that further investigations are underway.

Meanwhile, BJP MP from the Chimur-Gadchiroli constituency Ashok Nete said that Bawanthade was removed from the party 4-5 months ago as he was 'inactive and not sincere in working for the party'. "Bawanthade is no more with the BJP," he said.

-with agency inputs

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