NAGPUR: The ruling party in the state was left red-faced after 48-year-old Ravindra Bawanthade, a BJP worker and supervisor at a school at Nagbhid in Chandrapur district, was arrested on Monday for allegedly raping his former 19-year-old student in a Gadchiroli-bound bus on June 27 last month.
The instance was recorded in the CCTV camera fitted at the rear end of the bus’ interior. The driver and his cleaners made the video viral on social media after recording the footage in their mobile phones.
As per the FIR, this is the second time Ravindra had forced upon the survivor in a vehicle. She has claimed before police that Ravidra had earlier forced himself upon her in his car near Navarkhed on the way to Nagbhid from Nagpur. In the latest incident, 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.
Ravindra had also promised to marry the survivor, who is third among four sisters, despite being married. The survivor belongs to a family from a weaker economic strata. Sources also claimed that there was also an earlier allegations of similar nature against Ravindra around a year ago but nothing came to fore. The school management has now placed Ravindra under suspension and also likely to dismiss him.
Police said Ravindra was seated along the aisle while the survivor beside the window in the bus which had handful of passengers in the front rows. There was none behind the seats where Ravidra and the survivor were seated. None seemed to have got any hint of the crime taking place in the back seat. The conductor of the said bus Rakesh Khobragade spotted the two in compromising position. Ravindra had claimed that he was trying to attend her as she was not feeling well but Khobragade had sensed something foul which he had later divulged to driver Sarangdhar Ramteke.
Khobragade and Ramteke then learnt to have sought help from another conductor Macchindra Sahare, who operated in a different bus, to retrieve the footage and record it on their mobile phones before sharing with each other. By July 1 this month, the clip had gone viral. Ravindra, too, had came to know about it.
Apart from Ravindra, Nagbhid police have also nabbed Khobragade, Ramteke and Sahare for making the footage of the rape viral on various social media. The three have been charged with relevant sections of Information technology act for sharing the obscene clip. Ravindra, after being produced before a lower court on Tuesday, was sent to police custody till July 6.
PI BD Madavi of Nagbhid police station in Chandrapur said the shared clip had landed in the mobile phone of one of the kin of the survivor who opted to verify the matter from the exploited student before approaching the cops. “Police had sought for four days of custody for Ravindra but granted two days by the court. The three arrested on Tuesday would be produced before court on Wednesday,” he said.
It was also learnt that Ravindra had also visited the survivor at her place in the past promising to marry her soon. The survivor has also claimed in her report that Ravindra had purchased her a mobile phone in the past. Ravindra used to engage her in lengthy conversations.
The probe is now being conducted under supervision of SP, Chandrapur, Niyati Thaker and SDPO Prashant Pardeshi.
Though Gadchiroli BJP MP and district president Ashok Nete tried to distance Ravindra from his party stating that he was already sidelined and ousted for not showing any keen interest in the activities, he admitted his long association with party. Nete, however, praised Ravindra’s brother Bharat who is a prominent BJP leader in the Armori district of Gadchiroli.