CHANDRAPUR: A former BJP leader from Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district has been arrested for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman inside a moving bus, the police said today.
Ravindra Bawanthade, a private school teacher, was arrested by Nagbhid police of Gadchiroli yesterday following a complaint by the victim.
Three more people, including the bus driver, were arrested today from Gadchiroli in connection with the case, the police said.
The incident took place on June 27 but the woman approached the police on July 2 when a video clip purportedly showing the leader making sexual advances towards her went viral in the region, they said.
According to Nagbhid police station in-charge B D Madavi, the incident was captured by the CCTV camera inside the private luxury bus, when the two were returning to Gadchiroli from Nagpur.
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 yesterday 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 told PTI 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.