Shillong: Bernard Marak, vice president of Meghalaya BJP and member of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), has now fled to Delhi after being accused of running a brothel on Friday and evading arrest thereafter.
A raid at Marak’s Rimpu Bagan Farmhouse in Tura by West Garo Hills Tura Police on July 22 revealed several alleged illegalities at the farmhouse.
During the raid, 73 people were detained, of which 26 were women and five were children (4 boys and 1 girl). All the children were handed over to District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) for safe custody.
The police also found some people inside the vehicles without clothes. A large amount of alcohol, 500 unused contraceptives (condoms) and other incriminating materials were also recovered during the raid.
A case was registered under relevant sections of the IPC and the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956.
However, the BJP leader refuted the allegations and through a statement issued on Sunday evening alleged that this was the chief minister’s ploy to defame him and that the police were plotting to eliminate him.
“CM Conrad Sangma has found me to be a threat in his constituency after seeing my performance in the GHADC polls. All these allegations that I am running a brothel and a prostitution racket are totally wrong and are conspiracies. All these have been made up by the state police. Even the things that were seized from my farm, most of them are staged,” alleged Marak.
The BJP leader also said that he was not evading arrest but was worried for his life after getting inputs that the police were plotting to gun him down.
The police, who have been on the lookout for Marak since Friday, was aware of his location in Guwahati, but he managed to board a 5 pm flight to New Delhi on Saturday before they could arrest him.
On the basis of a tip-off, the Tura police carried out a special operation that started on Friday evening and ended on Saturday morning. The police received verbal complaints that immoral activities were taking place at the Rimpu Bagan Farmhouse.
According to West Garo Hills Superintendent of Police Vivekanand Singh, records indicate that Bernard Marak alias Rimpu is a known criminal with more than 25 criminal cases registered against him since the early 2000s.
Before turning politician, Marak was the self-styled Chairman of the now disbanded militant outfit named A.chik Nationalist Voluntary Council (B). Even after the disbandment of the outfit, police said, marak indulged in criminal activities like extortion from traders of Tura market, criminal intimidation in case of refusal to pay extortion money, arms smuggling, prostitution, illegal sale of liquor, illegal sale of lottery tickets, teer counters, encroachment on other’s property, illegal collection of money for recommending issue of TNT license etc.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by Meghalaya BJP president Ernest Mawrie on Sunday condemned the raid and said that Marak was being “unjustly framed and maligned”.
“It appears that he is a victim of a political vendetta.”
The BJP leader went on to explain that the building in which the raid took place is three storied, with the ground floor being used as a banquet hall which is given out on rent.
“The first floor comprises of 30 rooms used for homestay. The second floor is used as a hostel for underprivileged children from different areas of Garo Hills. These children have been staying since the pandemic and Bernard Marak has been supporting them financially as well. From amongst the children who were taken by the police, five are minors who are supported by Marak and studying in Edenbari School & Auxilium Convent School in Tura. Also, the caretaker’s wife and child were taken away by the police. A married couple who run a fast food restaurant at the premises were also taken by the police,” the BJP leader alleged.
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