National : Absconding Meghalaya BJP leader accused of running brothel held

Shillong, July 26 : The BJP’s Meghalaya unit Vice-President Bernard N. Marak, against whom look out notice was issued by the state police after five children were rescued and 73 people arrested on Saturday from a brothel reportedly run by him in West Garo Hills district, has been arrested from Uttar Pradesh, the police said on Tuesday.

An official said a Meghalaya Police team led by senior officers would be leaving for Uttar Pradesh to bring Marak here on transit remand.

The BJP leader, who has been absconding following the Saturday’s police raid at the farmhouse at Tura, was arrested in Hapur district by the Uttar Pradesh police, hours after the Meghalaya police issued a look out notice against Marak, who had been booked under different sections under POCSO and the Immoral Trafficking Act.

A Meghalaya court had also issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Marak, who through several statements and video messages denied the charge and accused Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma of political vendetta.

On Saturday, the police acting on a tip-off conducted an eight-hour-long raid at Rimpu Bagan, a farmhouse owned by militant-turned-politician Marak alias Rimpu, in West Garo Hills district.

West Garo Hills district police chief Vivekanand Singh had said that police rescued five minors — four boys and one girl — who were found locked inside dingy cabin-like unhygienic rooms at Rimpu Bagan, comprising 30 rooms.

The police also arrested 68 boys and girls and several farmhouse staff.

The police had also seized 36 vehicles, 47 mobile phones, liquor, 500 unused contraceptives (condoms) and other incriminating materials during the raid.

Marak, an elected member of the Garo Tribal Autonomous District Council, in a statement, strongly criticised Chief Minister Sangma for the raid at the farmhouse, denying allegations about running a “brothel”.

“The Chief Minister is getting desperate as he knows he is losing his South Tura seat to the BJP. The raid at my farmhouse is a desperate attempt by him to malign my image and a political vendetta,” Marak claimed.

He alleged that the Chief Minister is doing everything within his power to ensure that the BJP does not win a seat in Meghalaya.

A day after the police raid on Marak’s farmhouse, Meghalaya BJP in a statement on Sunday had said: “We have spoken with renowned and respected individuals from Tura and surrounding areas and we have come to the conclusion that Marak has been unjustly framed and maligned. It appears that he is a victim of a political vendetta.”

With two MLAs, the BJP is a part of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, led by Sangma’s National People’s Party.

According to police, there are more than 25 criminal cases against Marak, the then self-styled chairman of now disbanded militant outfit Achik National Voluntary Council-B.

–IANS

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