5 children rescued, 73 held from Meghalaya 'brothel' run by BJP leader
In major embarrassment for BJP, 5 children were rescued and 73 people arrested from a "brothel" reportedly run by the party's Meghalaya Vice President Bernard N. Marak in Tura on Saturday, police said
In a major embarrassment for the BJP, five children were rescued and 73 people arrested from a "brothel" reportedly run by the party's Meghalaya Vice President Bernard N. Marak in Tura on Saturday, police said.
The BJP leader has denied the charge and accused Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma of political vendetta.
Acting on a tip off, a huge police contingent, led by senior officials, 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 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.
All these children were handed over to the District Child Protection Officer for safe custody and further necessary action as per law, he said. The police official said that the complex was suspected to be the place where a minor girl was sexually assaulted.
"The police team also noticed many young boys and girls openly drinking in the premises, inside the rooms as well as inside vehicles. Some of them were sitting inside the vehicle without clothes or with very less clothes. Accordingly, the search team detained 68 boys and girls," a police statement said.
It said that some managed to run away taking advantage of darkness and by running over crushed liquor bottles.
The police also arrested the manager, caretaker and other three staff and 36 vehicles, 47 mobile phones, 1,68,268 ml liquor, 500 unused contraceptives (condoms) and other incriminating materials were seized.
"From the materials recovered at Rimpu Bagan complex, it appears that the place was being used by Marak and his accomplices as a 'brothel' for the purpose of prostitution," the statement added.
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 CM 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," claim Marak, who is evading police arrest till late Saturday night.
He alleged that the Chief Minister is doing everything within his power to ensure that the BJP doesn't win a seat in Meghalaya.
"His divide and rule formula is evident. He has created a rift between our two sitting MLAs while giving a ticket to (former Health Minister and BJP MLA Alexander Laloo) Hek's nephew to fight against him in his party ticket," said Marak.
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.