A senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader was booked on Friday for allegedly sexually exploiting a woman in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, IANS reported. Sucha Singh Langah was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape, extortion and criminal intimidation.

Langah, the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal’s Gurdaspur district unit, claimed the charge against him was a “classic example of political vendetta”. However, he resigned from all party posts on Friday. He also promised to surrender before a court on Saturday.

In her complaint, the 35-year-old widow alleged that the Akali leader had been raping her repeatedly since 2009. She also alleged that Langah had sold off her properties and extorted money from her, IANS reported. The complainant has submitted a video clip to the police as proof to substantiate her claims.

“Whenever I tried putting up a fight, he would tell me that he knows gangsters in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who would kill anybody he wants at a moment’s notice,” the woman said in her complaint, according to the Hindustan Times. “I dared not speak against him because he was a very powerful man.” Langah was the agriculture minister in the Akali Dal government between 2007 and 2012.

The arrest comes ahead of the bye-election to the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat to be held on October 11. The bye-election was necessitated after the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna in April. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, is trying to retain the seat.