Ravindra Bawanthade was filmed kissing a woman on a moving public bus on June 27. Photo: NDTV

A former BJP leader has been arrested and charged with rape, after video footage of him kissing a woman on a public bus on June 27 went viral, police said on Wednesday.

According to media reports, 48-year-old Ravindra Bawanthade, the BJP’s former Gadchiroli district general secretary, was charged with rape when the woman lodged a complaint after the video taken on a bus traveling from Gadhchiroli to Nagpur went viral on Tuesday.  The video, which was apparently circulated by bus service staff, shows the school teacher kissing and forcing himself on the woman.

The Times of India reported that Banthwade works as a supervisor at a school in Chandrapur district and the woman who registered the complaint against him is a former student at the school.

The Hindustan Times reported that Banthwade was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 376 for the offense of rape.

Senior BJP leader and Gadchiroli Lok Sabha member Ashok Nete was quick to distance the party from the alleged offender,  stressing that Banthwade no longer held a post. He was quoted as saying, “As he repeatedly failed to attend party meetings, he was removed from the post of party general secretary.”

A police officer told NDTV, “The accused works as a teacher in a 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.”

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