Meghalaya BJP vice president Bernard N Marak, who was arrested last month on the charge of running a sex racket at his farmhouse in the North-eastern state, is not cooperating with the investigation, police said. The former militant leader claimed during interrogation that he was operating the farmhouse as a homestay for around two years but does not know what is happening there in recent times as he did not visit it for the past three months, they said.
He also allegedly gave names of deceased people as caretakers of his farmhouse at Tura in West Garo Hills district, from where 73 people were arrested and six minors were rescued on July 22. The accused is not cooperating with the investigation. He has not revealed information on the illegal activities which were going on in the farmhouse, a senior police official told PTI.
The police on August 5 sought six more days of custody of him and it was granted by a Tura court. The police want to know how the proceeds from the illegal business were being used and how the weapons were procured.
A total of 35 gelatine sticks and 100 detonators, four crossbows and 15 arrows were seized from the farmhouse named Rimpu Bagan'. Before that, the police recovered alcoholic beverages and condoms from the farmhouse on July 22. The member of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council admitted that he is the sole owner of Rimpu Bagan' and he has been running it as a homestay since 2020 sans permission, the police official said.
Marak, however, claimed that he had not visited the property in the past three months and was not aware of the activities that is being carried out at the farmhouse, he said. He was arrested on July 26 in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh, hours after the Meghalaya Police issued a lookout notice against him. A lookout notice is issued to make sure that a wanted person is not able to leave the country.
A court in Tura had on July 25 issued a non-bailable warrant against the BJP leader. The BJP is a part of the state's ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), led by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma of the National People's Party (NPP).
Marak, a militant-turned-politician, had earlier claimed he was innocent and alleged he was the target of political vendetta by the chief minister and feared for his life. The state BJP also backed his claim. The Meghalaya CM denied the charge.
There were speculations that in the assembly elections due next year, the saffron party would field Marak against Sangma. Marak was the chairman of the now-disbanded armed rebel group ANVC(B), a breakaway faction of the Achik National Volunteer Council, before he joined the BJP and won the tribal council elections from Tura.