MUMBAI: Five persons, including a local BJP worker of Nagbhid in Chandrapur district near Nagpur, Maharashtra, have been arrested by the police after video footage of a rape on a moving bus went viral earlier this week.
Ravindra Bawanthade (48), a BJP cadre who works as a supervisor at a school, was arrested on Monday for the alleged rape of his former 19-year-old student in a Gadchiroli-bound bus on June 27. Four others, including the driver and conductor of the bus, were arrested for recording video footage of the rape and sharing it on social media. Though the incident happened last week, since it was a remote area, the news about it surfaced only on Monday, after TV channels flashed the video clips, following which an FIR was registered.
The FIR said that Ravindra had forced himself upon the victim in the vehicle twice. He had promised her a job to lure her to travel with him. He had also promised that he would marry her. The duo sat at the rear of the bus that had only a handful of passengers who occupied the front seats. That is how the crime went unnoticed.
Conductor Rakesh Khobragade (20) spotted the duo in a compromising position and and alerted driver Baburao Ramteke (30). They then sought the help of another conductor Macchindra Sahare (29) to retrieve the footage and record it on their mobile phones. By July 1, the clip had gone viral. Police arrested Ankush Randive (24) along with Khobragade, Ramteke and Sahare for sharing the rape footage on social media. They have been charged with appropriate sections of the Information Technology Act for sharing the obscene clip.
Bawanthade, after being produced before a lower court on Tuesday, was sent to police custody. He also faces similar allegations from about a year ago, police said and added that the school has suspended him.