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Absconding Meghalaya BJP leader wanted in prostitution racket case arrested in UP Bernard Marak
Image credit: Screengrab

Absconding Meghalaya BJP leader wanted in prostitution racket case arrested in UP

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 27 Jul 2022, 12:36 am

Shillong/UNI: Absconding Meghalaya Bharatiya Janata Party Vice President Bernard N Marak, who was allegedly running a prostitution racket from his farm house in West Garo Hills district, was finally arrested by Uttar Pradesh police on Tuesday evening, police said.

Marak was arrested hours after the Meghalaya police Tuesday issued a country-wide lookout notice, since he was evading arrest in connection with Tura Women Police Station Case No 105(07)2022 under Sections 3, 5, 6 and 7 of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act,1956.

The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate of Tura, Monica K Lyngdoh on Monday issued a non-bailable warrant against Marak "for the interest of the case and the interest of investigation".

"He (Marak) was arrested, while he was on a taxi in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh," Vivekanand Singh Rathore, district police chief of West Garo Hills, told UNI.

Hapur is about 60 km from New Delhi. The BJP leader fled away to New Delhi on Sunday evening, despite the state police directing him to surrender.

"He (Marak) will be produced before the court in Hapur and will be brought to Tura (district headquarters of West Garo Hills) for investigation," Rathore said, adding that a team of Meghalaya Police is being sent to Hapur to bring him to Tura.

The former militant leader-turned-member of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, a constitutional body in Meghalaya, has been accused of running a prostitution racket at his farmhouse at Edenbari on the outskirts of Tura.

Marak's farmhouse was once the designated camp of the disbanded breakaway faction of A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC-B) militant outfit. The militant outfit had signed a tripartite peace pact with the central government and the Meghalaya government.

On the night of July 22, police raided his farmhouse at Edenbari, based on a statement made by a minor in the court that she and her friend were taken to the farmhouse - Rimpu Bagan - and were sexually assaulted there.

During the raid, police rescued five minors, apart from arresting 73 other persons from the farmhouse. Police have also seized a large number of liquor, contraceptives, knives and other incriminating items.

"As such, Bernard N Marak's arrest is very much important and necessary for the investigation of the case and for imparting justice to the victims -- five minors, four boys and one girl, who were rescued in deplorable condition during the raids from a small room in a building," the Chief Judicial Magistrate said.

The minors have been handed over to the District Child Protection Unit, Tura for their safety and health.

On Sunday, Meghalaya BJP President Ernest Mawrie had defended Marak and termed the raid at the farmhouse as a 'political vendetta'.

Mawrie had also demanded the withdrawal of all charges against Marak, which were "politically motivated and malign the party image".

However, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said the government was firm in dealing with the case against the state BJP vice-president.

"We cannot withdraw the charges just because the accused is a BJP vice-president. Law is the same for everyone. Let the law take its own course, whether or not there is pressure from BJP leadership to withdraw the charges against him (Marak)," Tynsong said.

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