MUMBAI: A former BJP leader in Maharashtra has been arrested about a week after he was filmed kissing a woman on a moving public bus.
Ravindra Bawanthade, 48, has been arrested on charges of rape. The woman seen in footage from a CCTV camera says he forced himself on her on June 27, when they were travelling to Nagpur. Her complaint was filed after the video was circulated on social media, allegedly by the bus staff.
The BJP says Mr Bawanthade was removed from the party a few months ago.
“It is true that Ravindra (Bawanthade) held a position in the party. He was removed four-five months back as he was not attending meetings and wasn’t working,” BJP parliamentarian Ashok Nete told NDTV.
Mr Nete continued, “I came to know about the incident through a volunteer. It was my birthday on the 1st. There was no invitation for him. He wasn’t even mentioned in the list that was put up.”
The police say Mr Bawanthade is a teacher in a government primary school.
“It is clear and has been established that it was indeed him in the video that went viral. We have got his police custody till tomorrow,” a police officer in charge of the investigation told NDTV.
Senior Cabinet Minister Sudhir Munghantiwar said he was disgusted by the incident. “Action is being taken against the accused and he won’t be spared if guilty. There is no place in the BJP for people who indulge in such behavior,” he said.